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Nevada Blazes a Path; First State to Ban Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing (US)

On June 5, 2019, Nevada’s governor signed Assembly Bill No. 132, becoming the first state to prohibit pre-employment drug testing for the presence of marijuana (though New York City was the first city to enact such a law, as we discussed in our previous post).

The law makes it unlawful for any employer to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee because the prospective employee submitted to a blood, urine, hair, or oral fluids drug test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana.

Of course, the law provides certain exemptions. The law will not apply to prospective employees applying for certain positions, including:

  • As a firefighter;

  • As an emergency medical technician;

  • That requires an employee to operate a motor vehicle and for which federal or state law requires the employee to submit to screening tests; or

  • That, in the determination of the employer, could adversely affect the safety of others.

Further, if an employer requires an employee to submit to a screening test within the first 30 days of employment, the employee shall have the right to submit to an additional screening test, at his or her own expense, to rebut the results of the initial screening test. The employer shall accept and give appropriate consideration to the results of the additional screening test.

The law does not apply to the extent it is inconsistent or otherwise in conflict with the provisions of an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement; to the extent it is inconsistent or otherwise in conflict with the provisions of federal law; and additionally does not apply to a position of employment funded by a federal grant.

This law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Employers should review and update their drug testing policies for applicants and employees to comply with this law.

Employers should also stay tuned; while Nevada may be the first, it is likely not the last. Similar pre-employment drug testing laws are expected to begin to pop up throughout the country in the near future!

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 163


About this Author

Ariel Cohen Employment Lawyer

Ariel Cohen assists clients in a broad range of labor and employment matters. She researches and analyzes legal sources for drafting memoranda, pleadings and position statements related to employment law. Ariel also conducts legal research on employment law hot topics and case law and develops training programs that assist employers in maintaining compliance with frequently changing regulations.

While attending law school, Ariel gained experience in risk analysis and compliance, working in the legal division of the Federal Reserve Bank. She externed for Judge Catherine D. Perry at...