A ban on pre-employment testing for marijuana and THC recently became law in New York City. Pre-employment testing for marijuana and THC had long been an accepted standard in the employment process for certain industries. However, the legal landscape is changing. With the legalization of medical marijuana (and recreational marijuana in certain states), employers must re-evaluate certain company policies. New York is no exception.
On May 10, New York City passed a law that prohibited employers, labor organizations and employment agencies from conducting pre-employment testing for THC. THC is an active ingredient in marijuana and cannabis. The law goes into effect in one year, on May 10, 2020. This time interval provides NYC employers with time to prepare.
Industries Exempt from the Ban on Pre-Employment Testing for Marijuana and THC
According to JDSupra, industries that are safety-sensitive are not subject to the new law. Some of these industries include:
- Police and law enforcement positions
- Jobs requiring OSHA certification or construction safety training under New York state laws
- Commercial driver’s license positions
- Positions involved with the supervision or care of children, medical patients or vulnerable persons
- Positions capable of significantly impacting the health or safety of employees or the public
Employees applying for state or federal jobs would still be subject to pre-employment drug testing. This would include state employees, truck drivers, pilots or contractors.
The Reason for the Ban on Pre-Employment Testing
Legislators considered the practice discriminatory for job applicants. Washington D.C. has also passed a law that prohibits employers from testing for marijuana before extending a job offer. The NYC law is more comprehensive because at no point prior to hiring may the prospective employer require the drug test.
However, once the company hires the applicant, then the individual is an employee. Companies can test for drugs if an employee appears to be under the influence of marijuana while working.
Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates stay up-to-date with legal changes that affect employers. We also represent business owners in employment litigation