Hire Image reports that, last month, New York City passed a first-of-its-kind law banning employers from conducting pre-employment marijuana testing.  According to New York City Council’s Legislative Process, because the law was not signed or vetoed by the mayor within 30 days, it became law on May 10, 2019 and is effective one year later on May 10, 2020.

The new law amends the New York City Human Rights Law and states that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or agent to require a prospective employee to submit to a drug test for the presence of  any THC or marijuana as a condition of employment.  There are exceptions for certain applicants and types of employment.  As such, pre-employment marijuana testing will continue to be permissible for:  police officers or other law enforcement jobs, certain construction and maintenance jobs, positions requiring a commercial driver’s license, positions requiring supervision of children, medical patients, or certain individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities, and any position with the potential to significantly impact the health or safety of employees or members of the public.

Additional exclusions include drug testing pursuant to:

  • Any regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation that require pre-employment drug testing, as well as any state or city regulations that adopt the DOT rules;
  • Any contract entered into between the federal government and an employer or any grant of financial assistance from the federal government to an employer that requires drug testing of prospective employees as a condition of receiving the contract or grant;
  • Any federal or state statute, regulation, or order that requires drug testing of prospective employees for purposes of safety or security; or
  • Any applicants whose prospective employer is a party to a valid collective bargaining agreement that specifically addresses the pre-employment drug testing of such applicants.

As this is a new type of law, with no precedence or guidance available, additional rules and regulations are expected to implemented.  As always, Hire Image will continue to monitor New York City’s next steps, along with rules established by the labs in response to the law and communicate any developments, as they arise.  With a year before the law becomes effective, there is time for additional guidance to be issued on which employers can rely.  However, New York City employers should begin planning out revisions to their drug testing policies and employment applications early, so they can ensure compliance when the law becomes effective, May 20, 2020.

Please contact Hire Image if you need assistance with any drug screening policy review or revisions.

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