NYC Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Drug Tests

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The New York City Council passed a local law this week banning pre-employment marijuana drug tests. Following Mayor de Blasio’s signature, the law will take effect in 1 year.
Int. No. 1445-A makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency or agent to require a prospective employee to complete a drug test designed to detect the presence of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols (also known as THC) as a condition of employment. This law does not prevent marijuana drug testing on current employees.
There are numerous exemptions to the law:
  • Law enforcement positions, or police or peace officers;
  • Any position requiring compliance with section 3321 of the New York city building code or section 220-h of the labor law;
  • In any position requiring a commercial driver’s license;
  • In any position requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients or vulnerable persons (as defined in applicable law); or
  • In any position with the potential to significantly impact the health or safety of employees or members of the public. 
Positions subject to required drug testing, including under any federal or state laws or regulations, or DOT regulations, are also exempt from this ordinance.
Employers have a year to digest this law and determine if changes must be made to their policies and drug testing panel. Employers should also remain on the lookout for rules implementing the law drafted by the NYC Commission on Human Rights.