New York employers can no longer test most workers for marijuana, the state Department of Labor (DOL) announced this week.
Many legal Cannabis states prohibit penalizing workers for testing positive, reports Marijuana Moment. But New York appears to be the first to explicitly bar employers from testing for THC at all. There are, however, limited exceptions for certain categories of workers.
Workers can still be punished by employers for being actively impaired on the job. But the new rules create a high threshold for proving impairment. The odor of marijuana can’t be used alone as evidence of impairment under the new rules.
The legalization law that former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in March prohibits discrimination against employees who use marijuana while off duty. There are a few exceptions such as drivers regulated by the federal Department of Transportation.
‘Articulable Symptoms of Impairment’
In essence, New York’s DOL said earlier this month that requiring drug testing for marijuana constitutes discrimination.
According to the new guidance, employers must cite “articulable symptoms of impairment” to take action against an employee due to Cannabis use. Employers must provide “objectively observable” evidence of negative impact on the employee’s job performance, or on overall workplace safety.
“Observable signs of use that do not indicate impairment on their own cannot be cited as an articulable symptom of impairment,” the guidance states, reports WROC.
No Pot On the Job Site
Employers are within their rights to ban workers from possessing pot on the job site, according to the guidance, reports The New York Post.
After former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the recreational bill into law, the NYPD sent out a memo to cops warning them not to light up. “All existing patrol guide procedures regarding [marijuana] prohibition as well as drug screening procedures remain in effect,” it read.
“NYPD officers are not allowed to smoke marijuana when they are off duty,” a department spokesperson emailed The Post on Tuesday.