New York City Passes Law Which Prohibits Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing
And just like that, an employer’s ability to pre-screen job applicants for marijuana use goes up in smoke. On April 9, New York City Council voted 40-4 to pass a bill which will prohibit employers from conducting pre-employment drug testing for marijuana and THC – the active ingredient in marijuana. Mayor de Blasio was expected to sign the Bill, however, 30 days have come and gone since passage and it remains unsigned. Since the law was not signed or vetoed within 30 days of passage, it became law on May 10, 2019. The law will come into effect on May 10, 2020 – giving employers one year to come to grips with this new revelation.
The new law makes requiring an applicant to submit to pre-employment drug testing for marijuana an “unlawful discriminatory practice.” There are, however, exceptions for safety and security sensitive jobs and those tied to a federal or state contract or grant. For example, people working in law enforcement positions are exempt. Also exempt are commercial drivers; construction workers working on a public work site; and those supervising or caring for children, medical patients, or other vulnerable persons. (“Vulnerable persons” is defined by Section 488(15) of the New York Social Services Law.)
Employers in New York City are certainly going through the ringer this year with all the new sexual harassment requirements, paid leaves, and now this. Employers with employees in NYC should contact competent counsel to review their drug screening policies to ensure compliance. Of course, while you’re at it, you might want to check your compliance with the plethora of other new laws NYC has passed already this year. The changes just keep comin’ in NYC.
Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest state and federal employment laws. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.454.0560.