How Drug-Use Legislation Will Potentially Change Employee Screening Policies

Only months into the  New Year and we’ve already got a substantial list of changes to expect in the workplace. Jena McGregor of the Washington Post writes that this list includes the potential repeal or replacement of the Affordable Care Act and its effect on employee health insurance, changes to the Dodd-Frank act which requires some companies to publish their CEO-to-worker pay ratio, and the possible expansion of paid parental leave. A hot item on the list is also the issue of marijuana legalization and how many companies have had to adjust their policies to reflect their state’s changing stance on the subject.

Currently, marijuana is allowed for recreational use in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine. The number of states that adopt similar legislation is expected to grow, but even before that takes place, companies within these four states will adjust their drug testing policies in ways that will have a far-reaching effect on long-distance employees as well.

Significant Changes to Expect

McGregor reports that many human resource leaders believe that companies will begin requesting that screening providers to omit tests and reports on marijuana use specifically going forward. Obviously, there a few jobs where this omission would be, at best, impractical and at worst dangerous:

  1. Airline pilots
  2. Truck drivers
  3. Construction workers
  4. Medical professionals

However, these same professionals maintain that employers—even if they decide to omit marijuana drug testing from their pre-screening processes—will and should reserve the right to prohibit its use on the job and to test employees when reasonable suspicion has alerted them to the employee’s impaired performance.

Contact VICTIG with any questions regarding your region’s stance on marijuana use.

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