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New York City Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

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Do you run background checks on your potential employees before officially hiring them?

What about drug testing?

If you’re an employer in New York City, come 2020, you will no longer be able to test candidates for marijuana or THC (the chemical responsible for most of the psychological effects of marijuana). The recently passed law characterizes these drug tests as “an unlawful discriminatory practice.”


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Exceptions

It’s a good idea for covered employers in New York City to review drug testing policies to ensure compliance. There are some exceptions to the regulation. According to the National Law Review, pre-employment testing for marijuana will be permitted for the following:

  • Police or law enforcement officer positions.
  • Jobs requiring construction safety training or OSHA certifications (under New York laws).
  • Any jobs requiring a commercial driver’s license.
  • Positions that would involve the supervision or care of children, medical patients, or vulnerable persons.
  • Positions with potential to significantly impact health or safety under regulations under citywide administrative services.
  • Required testing under the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Required testing under federal contracts or grants.
  • Required testing under federal or state statutes.
  • Required testing under collective bargaining agreements.

Workforce drug testing.

According to an analysis released by Quest Diagnostics, the rate of workforce drug positivity reached its highest rate since 2004 last year.

The study shows that marijuana continues to top the list of most commonly detected illicit substances across all workforce categories. Marijuana positivity increased nearly 17 percent since 2014.

However, the positivity rate for opiates, heroin, and cocaine declined in the general U.S. workforce.

For employers in New York City that want to continue drug testing, SHRM recommends seeking options from vendors to see if they can provide testing for drugs other than marijuana.

More on marijuana.

You may be wondering how these rules pertain to medical marijuana or usage outside of the workplace.

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level:

  • Thirty-three states have legalized medical marijuana use.
  • Ten have legalized recreational use.

Legal protections for medical marijuana usage in particular are different in every state.

Comply with workplace drug testing requirements.

As you can surmise, the legal landscape around drug testing is a complex one. You need an expert to lean on when it comes to making decisions surrounding compliance issues like this.

Trust PrimePay’s HR Advisory solution to help you with these decisions.

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Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.