New pre-employment drug test law sows confusion – KOLO

RENO, NV (KOLO) With the voters approving legalization of marijuana, Nevada’s lawmakers were left with the task of setting up the regulatory infrastructure to manage and tax the new industry.

Last session they addressed a problem the state’s employers had long seen coming–the potential impact on the work place, specifically pre-employment drug testing.

By that time, a number of employers–likely a majority–who had made testing a part of their hiring policy had already dropped the practice. That still left quite a number wondering how to navigate this new reality.

With the law now taking effect finding those answers takes on a new urgency. A lot of them are turning to the Nevada Employers Association..

“They want to know how they are going to navigate this knowing that they have a variety of positions in their company some with safety concerns, some not,” says NEA Membership Services Coordinator Audra Parton.

Essentially the new law prohibits employers from using a positive test for marijuana in an applicant’s system as a reason to deny them a job.

Parton notes there are exceptions,

“For somebody who is applying for a position as a firefighter, as an EMT, somebody who is driving a vehicle for which state or federal law requires them to be pre-employment tested for marijuana and or a position for which the employer’s determination concerns the safety of others.”

And that’s the one that’s causing the most confusion and raising the most concern.

“That’s kind of the determination the employer is going to have to make and that’s kind of where the gray area is. What does that mean in practice?”

As often happens with new laws, the way forward is unclear and open for interpretation.At the moment, Parton says, there’s no

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