Employers will no longer test employees for marijuana
New York – According to guidance from the New York State Department of Labor, most companies can no longer require employees to be tested for marijuana or discriminate against employees for use of the drug outside of the workplace.
Companies are not allowed to test employees for cannabis, for most jobs in the public and private sectors.
According to employment Lawyer Kim Harding, whether you work in the office or at home, the new law also prohibits making marijuana use outside of work a fireable offense in most cases.
“That’s the biggest change that the law created, and that’s confirmed in the guidance. So, employers that really have to update their policies and make sure that their drug abuse and drug testing policies are now compliant with the law,” said Harding.
However, not every job title is covered by the state law, since marijuana is still federally an illegal substance.
“Who this won’t apply to is really employees of the federal government, and that would include likely federal or that would include federal law enforcement, other groups that are excluded are commercial drivers, railroad operators, school bus drivers,” Harding explained.
When it comes to cannabis use during work hours or on company property, businesses can make their own policies.
But with testing now out of the question, it will be tougher for businesses to prove if someone is using while on the clock.
“They cannot take action, merely on the basis that someone smells of cannabis, but they can maintain general grooming standards, and of course can continue to maintain performance standards and try to hold people accountable for their work, irrespective of whether they suspect cannabis use,” said Harding