A discussion about the legality of drug testing in the workplace

The law today mandates and defines permissible drug-testing programs. All drug testing by public bodies and some drug testing by private entities is done pursuant to legal authority or command. This authority may not only mandate testing, but may also constrain the conditions under which drug testing proceeds and the consequences that can attach to positive results. There are also limits on what the law can authorize or mandate with respect to drug testing.

A discussion about the legality of drug testing in the workplace

More Topics Marijuana Use and Its Impact on Workplace Safety and Productivity Despite the safety and productivity risks associated with marijuana use, the drug is increasingly seen as socially acceptable and its dangers may be marginalized.

Dougherty Feb 01, The number of people using marijuana in the United States is rising rapidly, and the impact of this increase is showing up at work.

A discussion about the legality of drug testing in the workplace

Drug testing services report more positive tests for marijuana, both in pre-employment drug screens and drug tests conducted for other reasons. The penalty for a positive test is often a refusal to hire or, for those who are already employees, discipline up to and including termination.

An employee familiar with state laws legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use may be surprised by such a harsh workplace penalty, but employers continue to have good reasons for enforcing a strong substance abuse policy that includes a ban on marijuana.

Safety Issues Safety concerns are often a company's primary reason for prohibiting marijuana in the workplace, and they are a valid basis for banning the drug.

Marijuana use has been linked to an increase in job accidents and injuries, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that the short-term effects of marijuana include impaired body movement, difficulty with thinking and problem-solving, memory problems, and an altered sense of time.

In Mayan article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine concluded that there is a likely statistical association between illicit drug use, including marijuana, and workplace accidents. While some studies suggest that marijuana use may be reasonably safe in some controlled environments, its association with workplace accidents and injuries raises concern.

The impact marijuana use makes on transportation safety can be especially alarming. The drug impairs attentiveness, motor coordination, and reaction time and impacts the perception of time and speed.

Studies from the National Institute on Drug Abuse have found that marijuana negatively impacts driving performance, and other researchers have found that acute use of the drug increases the risk of crashes and fatal collisions.

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, since medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado inthe percentage of marijuana-positive drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes there has increased significantly. Changing Attitudes Issues with attendance and productivity also can arise from marijuana use, and morale may be impacted.

Despite the safety and productivity risks associated with marijuana use, however, the drug is increasingly seen as socially acceptable and its dangers may be marginalized.

Some of the social acceptance comes from the legalization of the drug under certain state laws. Marijuana can be used for medical purposes in 23 states, and can be used recreationally in four. The federal government's stance also makes an impact.

Although marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug with no legitimate medical use and a high potential for abuse, the federal Department of Justice allows state and local agencies to enforce narcotics laws that are outside federal priorities.

This gives states leeway to enforce some marijuana laws as they see fit and to allow the drug to be used under state law. Nationwide, use of the drug has increased dramatically. A survey from the National Institutes of Health found that past-year use more than doubled between andfrom 4.

A survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed an increase in individuals who reported marijuana use over the past month, which rose from 6. Social acceptance of marijuana may be increasing because fewer people see great risk associated with using it. In38 percent of Americans age 12 and over saw great risk in using the drug once a month.

Inthat number had fallen to These relaxed attitudes toward marijuana use come at a time when the drug is more potent than ever. In the s, marijuana had a content of THC marijuana's active ingredient of about 1 percent.

Today, THC content is nearly 13 percent, and some strains are advertised as having a THC content of around 25 percent or higher. A Matter of Policy The increasing public perception that marijuana use has few risks, combined with persistent safety concerns associated with the drug, underscore the importance of a strong workplace substance abuse policy that addresses marijuana use.

A discussion about the legality of drug testing in the workplace

Although marijuana has been legalized under some state laws, employers may still ban the drug at work. State laws legalizing marijuana use do not require an employer to compromise workplace safety. A policy making it clear that employees are prohibited from being impaired by marijuana can provide direction to employees and supervisors and can help employees understand that activity which is legal under state law may not prevent them from losing their jobs.

Compliance with State Laws A policy should not be generic; it should indicate your company's purpose for the policy and any federal requirements that impact the way it is structured. In addition, state drug testing and medical marijuana laws need to be taken into account.

A policy might indicate that workers are not to use, possess, or be under the influence of controlled substances, including medical marijuana, while at work. However, state laws may impact how and when drug tests can be conducted, the consequences for a positive test, and the use of drug testing to indicate impairment.

So far, courts have ruled that employers may take action under their substance abuse policy if an employee tests positive for marijuana, even if the drug is being used for medical purposes away from the workplace under state law. However, some newer medical marijuana laws offer additional employee protections, and these laws have not yet been tested in court.E g Honors* or Smith* The labor and employment field is highly regulated in Puerto a discussion about the legality of drug testing in the workplace Rico.

and entertainment in . Drug Testing in the Workplace By Ying-Tzu Lu and Brian H.

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Kleiner company to implement a drug testing programme, including the discussion of the legality of each option under certain situations. drug testing is the unannounced testing of a percentage of employees who.

The drug testing policy should specify the type of drug testing used, the frequency of the drug testing, and the names of the substances for which the employee will be tested. The drug testing policy should provide fair and consistent methods for employee selection for drug testing.

most often detected in workplace drug-testing programs. The primary psychoactive substance in marijuana is delta (eg, general risk-taking behavior among illicit drug users). This discussion on the effects of marijuana is based on a but doing so helps to ensure the legality of testing.

In unionized workforces, the implementation of. Further, because safety incentive and drug-testing programs have been established by employers for purposes of improving health and safety, discovering the causes of accidents, and discouraging drug use in the workplace, it will be very difficult for OSHA to prove the final element of its case.

B The Legal Environment of Drug Testing This appendix is based on a paper commissioned by the Committee on Drug Use in the Workplace from David Wasserman of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, University of Maryland, and James Jacobs of the School of Law, New York University.

UNODC - Bulletin on Narcotics - Issue 2 -