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New York City Bans Pre-Employment Drug Testing for Marijuana, THC

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.

new york pre-employment drug testing

The days when New York employers could request employees to undergo drug testing for marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are now gone. According to the updates of the New York City Human Rights Law, New York pre-employment drug testing is prohibited. If a prospective employer requests such a test from you, he or she is conducting a discriminatory practice. In such a case, it is wise to consult a New York employment attorney to help you determine if your prospective employer’s requests are lawful and, if they are not, to advise you on how to act.

The Law Office of Yuriy Moshes is at your service for such advice. Contact us today at 888-445-0234 to let us know about your case. We will present you with your options free of charge.

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What Is the New Bill (Intro. No. 1445-A) About?

The new bill (Intro. No. 1445-A) is all about banning New York pre-employment drug testing. It was passed on 9 April 2019 on a comfortable 41-4 vote, becoming the first-ever law prohibiting pre-employment drug testing around the United States.

It was part of the NYC marijuana legalization efforts. The NY police have significantly cut down the number of arrests for small drug crimes, while the government prepares for the complete legalization of marijuana. As a result, employment drug testing has become obsolete, hence the updates on the NY Human Rights Bill.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who has sponsored the bill, says: “We need to be creating more access points for employment, not less, and as we move toward legalization, it makes absolutely no sense that we’re keeping people from finding jobs or advancing their careers because of marijuana use.”

His words explain the reasons behind passing this law. If marijuana is legal, then workers who use it should not be wondering how to pass a pre-employment drug test.

The bill adds to the NY Fair Chance Act, which prohibits most employers from inquiring about the criminal history of job applicants after extending conditional offers for employment.

However, do not relax just yet. Although the law has come into effect in May 2019, it is obligatory for employers from May 2020. Until then, you cannot enjoy your rights under this bill.

Exceptions of the Bill

Aside from the date when the law becomes applicable to employers, employees who use marijuana have to be aware of the exceptions of the bill. Namely, pre-employment drug screening in New York will still be lawful for jobs involving safety and security, as well as jobs tied to federal or state contracts.

In general, you cannot count on the ban if you are a:

  • Police officer or other law enforcement or criminal investigation personnel
  • Worker on a construction site, no matter if you handle heavy machinery or not
  • Worker in a job requiring a commercial driver’s license or
  • Worker who cares for children, medical patients, or people with disabilities.

Jobs with a significant impact on safety and health are also excluded, no matter what industry you are in.

In addition, the employment drug screen provided under collective bargaining is not covered with the bill. Therefore, if your Union has agreed on a drug screening, you cannot escape it even if the ban applies to your job.

If you are not sure whether your job position is covered by this act and you are requested to do a test, do not hesitate to talk to a New York employment attorney. Instead of learning how to pass a pre-employment drug test, learn whether your prospective employer violates your rights or not and take appropriate action with the help of a lawyer is the best thing to do when you are not sure whether you should take the test or not.

Employers Have One Year to Comply with the Law

Employers have time until May 2020 to prepare for the consequences of this bill. That’s enough time to make the necessary changes in the employment policies and procedures. Employers who do not employ any employment drug tests have nothing to worry about, but those who do, will have to make relevant adjustments in employment procedures, employment advertisements, drug testing or substance abuse policies.

In addition, they will have to ensure that the Medical Review Officers cease to conduct pre-employment drug testing to current and prospective workers. They must ensure that THC is not what pre-employment drug test looks for. Unless the job position is excluded from the new bill, marijuana and THC test results must not appear in the medical results of the workers.

Finally, employers from the whole State of New York may want to revisit their pre-employment drug testing policies and procedures in general. There is an obvious trend for legalizing marijuana in New York City and that is likely to spread throughout the whole state. Moreover, the NY courts are lately more favorable to employees in cases related to THC and employment.

Since the THC is about to be treated in a very different way, other cities may follow the trend and ban employment drug testing on marijuana and THC on their territory. Therefore, employers who adjust to that sooner will need less effort to comply with the laws later on.

New York Employment Lawyers

If you face unlawful New York pre-employment drug testing, you should talk to a New York employment attorney before taking the test. Always check whether you are obliged to take it or not. The results may potentially prevent you from getting that job, which may have further adverse consequences on your life.

Law Office of Yuriy Moshes

Some employers want to push the limits that the employment laws set, but you should not suffer because of that. If you shouldn’t take that test, then don’t. And if you need advice on how to act in such a situation, call us today at 8880445-0234 for a free consultation. Tell us about the job you are applying for, what your prospective employer wants you to do, and some other details, and we will let you know if your rights have been violated and what’s the best thing to do for free of charge.

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