New York City is now prohibiting employers from requiring pre-employment marijuana testing during the hiring process, reported Marijuana Moment. The ban, which was included in the NYC Human Rights Law authorized by the Council on May 10, 2019, also limits labor organizations and employment agencies from demanding drug tests to detect marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a condition for employment. This amendment took effect on May 10, 2020.
For those who are seeking employment in New York City as a medical marijuana patient, this development will come as good news. However, there are parts of the law that are still being finalized. Moreover, there are limitations to the law that prospective employees should know.
A Deeper Look into the Marijuana Testing Ban
While the law prohibits employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies from conducting marijuana testing, it also stipulates that such pre-employment conditions can be required for certain jobs.
The exception from the ban can include police officers, children’s care and supervision service providers, and those that involve federal or state contracts or grants. Specifically, individuals seeking employment in safety-related, transportation-related and care-related positions.
Moreover, organizations obligated by federal or state policies for safety or security concerns are still allowed to do such tests. The evaluation can also be applicable to jobs that are tied with a collective bargaining agreement involving drug tests.
Marijuana Moment noted that workers who expect to work in active construction locations, operate heavy equipment, work with power or gas utility lines, and operate vehicles almost every day. Individuals whose impairment due to cannabis could lead to failure to perform their duties adequately and can result in harm or death will undergo marijuana testing, as well.
What it Means for Employees
The ban is meant to mitigate employment discrimination against medical marijuana patients in New York City. With such a measure, job seekers who use the plant to treat their debilitating illness and symptoms could find employment.
However, it is important to note that the exceptions for the prohibition are deemed vague and broad, especially as the exclusions could encompass a lot of positions across many industries. The implementation of tests for applicants to exempted positions means that candidates can test positive even after a month from consumption.
Science experts note that cannabinoids can remain in the body for a maximum of one month, which means that a positive test does not prove impairment while working. Additionally, law experts said that such vague and broad exemptions can create loopholes that could unreasonably prevent qualified applicants from being employed.
In light of this ban on marijuana testing in NYC, it is important to note that adult-use recreational cannabis remains illegal in the state of New York.
The Bottom Line
With the prohibition of marijuana testing as a pre-employment condition, medical marijuana patients who are seeking employment in NYC can have the chance to work without discrimination during the employment process. However, it is important to wait for the finalization and clarification regarding exemptions.