As of May 10th, in New York, which
decriminalized marijuana last year, most employers have been banned from
requiring pre-employment marijuana testing, with some exceptions. Further, this
does not stop employers from testing their current employees or firing them for
a positive test.
Jumaane Williams, New York City’s public
advocate explained the change by comparing the testing to alcohol, “Prospective
employers don’t test for alcohol, so marijuana should be no different. But in
no way does this bill justify individuals going to work under the
influence…We need to be creating more access points for employment, not less,
and, as we push for legalization on a state level, it makes absolutely no sense
that we’re keeping people from finding jobs or advancing their careers because
of marijuana use.“
There are multiple jobs where pre-employment
testing will still be permitted, these include:
- Construction workers.
- Police officers
- Commercial drivers
- Teachers, teachers’ aides, or daycare center employees
- Any job that requires the supervision or care of patients in a medical, nursing home, or group care facility
- Any job that has the potential to significantly impact the health or safety of employees or members of the public
- Where otherwise required by federal law (interstate truckers, gas pipeline employees, utility gas workers, etc)
It appears NY is on the path to full
legalization. Governor Cuomo, had called legislators to pursue legalization at
the start of 2020, but that was all put on pause as NYC became the United States’
epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Annual Quest Diagnostic Drug Test Index
reports that the number of workers testing positive for marijuana is climbing.
As of 2018, 2.3% of workers already tested positive. While Both Delaware and
Pennsylvania have Medical Cannabis Anti-Discrimination Employee Protection,
they do not require employers to make medical cannabis accommodations and do
not have Recreational Cannabis Anti-Discrimination Employee Protection.