Nevada Bans Pre-employment Marijuana Testing

No matter what search engine you use, any reference to how to pass a drug test yields page after page of results. Now, we aren’t advocating cheating on the test, but it’s a fact of a drug users life that they will try. Since marijuana legalization has come into play, pot specific remedies abound. Nevada, apparently, plans to ease their fears a bit. The state placed a ban on pre-employment testing for THC.

A proposed bill to make it illegal for employers to test job applicants for marijuana on the pre-employment drug test officially became a law. It goes into effect on January 1, 2020. They left a carve out for exceptions in regard to public safety and transportation professionals.

Thank goodness.

The bottom dollar

Nevada was poised to leap into the marijuana industry from the get go. In fact, it took only eight months after voters approved recreational marijuana in November 2016 before legal sales began.

During the first full year of legalization, Nevada raked in $425 million, with $70 million of that going directly to the state. The figure is mind boggling! Of course, a large part of the revenue was due to the millions of people who travel to Las Vegas every year.

We didn’t check the figures to date, but if we were going to gamble, we’d bet they haven’t gone down any.

What’s the problem?

Nevada embraced marijuana legalization wholeheartedly. However, employers continued to test for the drug. We don’t blame them.

Marijuana impairment causes delayed reaction times, effects the thinking process, and lowers productivity. And, that’s just for starters. Employers want to assure employees they have a safe place in which to work. One stoned employee jeopardizes that for everyone.

Currently, marijuana remains classed as a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government. Employers have the right to stick by their decision to keep it on employee drug tests.

Their solution

The state, however, chose to side with employees who consider it unfair for THC testing to remain on pre-employment drug tests. The reasoning behind that is if someone isn’t employed by a company that views marijuana as a harmful drug in the workplace, the fact that they had smoked prior to employment should not be an issue.

The new law prohibits employers from refusing to hire an applicant solely on testing positive for marijuana. Employees are further protected after they have a job. Say the company randomly drug tests as well. If someone tests positive for marijuana, they have 30 days to submit a drug test result of their own showing a negative result.

This is because currently there is no test for current impairment. Marijuana stays in the system long after impairment is no longer an issue. Depending on how often someone uses the drug, this period could be last for a few days up to a month. If someone has time to wait it out, a negative drug test is the result.

Reasonable suspicion may hold the key

In the latter case, Nevada employers may have a final card to play.

Documentation of reasonable suspicion that someone is exhibiting signs of impairment on the job along with a positive drug test result may hold up in a court of law.

Such a case has never been argued in court yet, however. Should a disgruntled employee bring suit against you, we’ll be pulling for you.

Marijuana legalization is unchartered territory. Until there is a test for current impairment, employers have every right to fight to keep marijuana testing on their employee drug tests.

Good luck.

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