NYC expected to ban marijuana tests to weed out job applicants

Pre-employment marijuana testing would become a "discriminatory act."

"You won't believe what I just heard!"

On April 9, the New York City Council passed a bill that restricts employers from requiring job applicants to undergo testing for the presence of THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that causes one to feel “high.” If, as expected, Mayor Bill De Blasio signs the bill into law, the NYC Human Rights Law will be amended to make pre-employment marijuana testing a discriminatory act.

The law would not apply to the following safety-sensitive positions:

  • Law enforcement positions
  • Laborers, mechanics, workers, contractors, or other persons working on a public work site
  • Any position that requires compliance with the NYC Building Code
  • Any position that requires a commercial driver's license
  • Any position requiring one to supervise children, medical patients, or other vulnerable persons, or
  • Any position that could significantly affect the health or safety of employees or members of the public, as determined by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services or in regulations issued by the NYC Commission on Human Rights. 

Nor would the law apply to pre-employment marijuana testing conducted in accordance with

  • Federal, state, and local transportation department regulations
  • Federal government contracts or grants
  • Federal or state statutes, or
  • Collective bargaining agreements.

After the Mayor signs the bill, assuming he does, it will take effect one year later. Companies with New York City employees would need to modify their drug-testing policies before the effective date to comply with the law.

We will keep you up to date on all developments.

Image Credit: From flickr, Creative Commons license, by Devin Smith. 

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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