Most New York City Employers Now Prohibited from Conducting Pre-Employment Marijuana Tests – JD Supra

While it has been a challenge for employers to keep up with the explosion of medical and recreational marijuana laws spreading across the nation, employers have taken some comfort in that most of these states still grant employers the right to maintain a drug-free workplace and take action against those who test positive for marijuana, including rejecting job applicants testing positive for drugs. Yet, the tide seems to be shifting, with more courts granting pot smokers certain rights and finding that employers are required to comply with federal and state disability laws when confronted with medical marijuana users. Now, more jurisdictions are stepping in and granting certain employment protections to off-duty marijuana users.

Effective May 10, 2020, it is considered an unlawful discriminatory practice in New York City for an employer, labor organization, or employment agency to require a job applicant to submit to a marijuana test as a condition of employment. By way of background, on April 9, 2019, the New York City Council passed (by a 41-4 vote) a bill (Intro. No. 1445-A) banning such testing. Because Mayor Bill de Blasio did not sign or veto the bill within 30 days of its passage, it became law on May 10, 2019.

The provisions of the law do not apply to people applying to work in the following positions:

positions in law enforcement; certain construction jobs (as defined in the law); any position requiring a commercial driver’s license; positions requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients, or vulnerable persons (as defined in the law); and positions with the “potential to significantly impact the health or safety of employees or members of the public,” as determined by rules promulgated by the City.

The provisions of the law also do not apply to drug testing required pursuant to:


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