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Nevada Bans Drug Testing for Marijuana as a Condition of Employment

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Recently, a new law was passed in Nevada with regards to employment practices, drug testing, and marijuana. Specifically, the bill prevents employers from refusing employment to a candidate if they submitted to a drug screening that showed positive for marijuana.While ten states have already legalized marijuana for recreational use, 19 more allow medical use. In Nevada, weed has been legal for sale and possession since mid-2017. The state felt the need to recognize that people can and will use the drug and that such screenings may come back with a positive result.

Exceptions to the Rule

Starting on January 1, 2020, the new law comes into effect, but it does come with a few exceptions.

For example, the rule does not apply if the candidate is applying for a job as an EMT or a firefighter. If the job requires the operation of a motor vehicle, or if the presence of marijuana in the system could impact the safety of others, the law does not apply.

Additionally, in cases where a positive result was a relevant factor, the candidate would be able to access independent testing to refute the findings – and the employer must accept those results.

Similar Laws in Other States

In April, New York City enacted a similar bill to amend the city’s administrative code, though the wording is a little different.

The NYC version of the law prohibits employers from requiring a drug test specifically for THC as a condition of employment. Its exclusions are for security-sensitive jobs as well as those tied to a government contract or grant, whether at the state or federal level.

Employment-Related Positive Drug Tests at an All-Time High

According to the Drug and Alcohol Testing Association, positivity rates for the presence of marijuana are up by 25 percent over its lowest year (2012). These results indicate that  marijuana use is on the rise.

If you are an employer in Nevada, it is essential to know your rights where drug testing, and especially marijuana screening is concerned.

Here’s what you need to know:

If you routinely ask new hires to submit to a drug screening test, and the test comes back positive for marijuana, you cannot deny the applicant a job based on this result.

If they challenge the result, they are within their rights to do so, and may seek out independent testing to support an appeal. Whatever the results are, you will have to accept them. This secondary test must be conducted at the applicant’s expense.

If you require your hires to submit to a screening test within the first 30 days of employment, the same rules apply.

Exceptions to the law include:

  • If the job applied for is a firefighter
  • If the job applied for is an EMT
  • If the position is funded by a government grant
  • If the position involves the operation of a motor vehicle
  • If a collective bargaining agreement (union rules) contradict the terms of the law

Though the new amendments do not go into effect until January, it’s critical to be aware of them and adjust your written company policies accordingly.

As marijuana legalization within the United States and debates at the federal level continue, employers must continue to remain compliant with their local jurisdictions. We’ll help you navigate the murky waters of this nascent issue, informing your recruitment activities and supporting your workforce development.

For more information on this new law and more  contact our team of professionals today.

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