In June 2019, Nevada became the first U.S. state to ban employers from failing, or refusing, to hire a prospective employee because the person “submitted to a screening test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana.”
Nevada Assembly Bill No. 132 takes effect January 1, 2020. The law does not apply to applicants for positions as firefighters, emergency medical technicians, operators of motor vehicles who are required to submit to drug tests or any other positions that “in the determination of the employer, could adversely affect the safety of others.” The law also does not apply if it conflicts with an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, if the position is funded by a federal grant or “to the extent that [it] is inconsistent or otherwise in conflict with provisions of the federal law.”
The law also includes a provision stating that if an employer requires an employee to submit to a drug screening test within the first 30 days of employment, they must also allow the employee to submit to an additional test at the employee’s expense and “accept and give appropriate consideration” to the second test.
The New York City Council passed a similar bill earlier this year that would ban most employers from requiring job applicants to submit to drug tests for marijuana. That law goes into effect on May 10, 2020. It exempts many positions including law enforcement, construction, jobs that involve the supervision of children and medical patients, federal and state employees or contractors, and truck drivers and pilots.
Employers in Nevada and New York City should review and revise their drug testing policies and determine which positions could be exempt under either law.
At least 34 states and the District of Columbia have laws permitting at least some form of medical or recreational marijuana use, and some court rulings indicate that employers should proceed with caution when it comes to medical marijuana, as we discussed in a previous Compliance Corner article. With the complicated patchwork of laws, employers should work with attorneys to ensure their policies are compliant with all applicable laws.
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