May 22, 2019

May 22, 2019

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NYC Bill Banning Pre-Employment Marijuana Drug Testing Becomes Law

As we previously reported, on April 9, 2019, the New York City Council passed Int. 1445-A, which prohibits employers from pre-employment drug testing for marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols (“THC,” the active ingredient in marijuana). On May 10, 2019, Int. 1445-A became law by operation of the New York City legislative process, which automatically made the bill law after 30 days without action by Mayor de Blasio. The law becomes effective May 10, 2020, giving New York City employers one year to prepare.

Under the law, employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies, and all of their agents, are prohibited from requiring a prospective employee to submit to a marijuana or THC drug test as a condition of employment. This conduct is now characterized as an “unlawful discriminatory practice.” There are, however, several exceptions to the law. For example, the law will not apply to employees in the following roles: safety-related positions, transport-related positions, caregivers, and certain federal contractors. Further, to the extent that a collective bargaining agreement requires drug testing, the law will not apply to such testing. 

What Employers Should Do Now:

In addition to the steps that we have previously suggested, employers should consider the following actions:

  • Determine whether you are a covered employer, and if so, review and potentially revise your drug-testing requirements to ensure that they will not violate the new prohibition, and be prepared to cease pre-employment drug screening for marijuana and THC.
  • Determine whether any of your employees fall within one of the many carve-outs and exceptions provided under the law and if so how the Company will implement the testing for such individuals.
  • Look out for any rules or regulations published by the City to facilitate and guide implementation of the law.
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About this Author

Nathaniel M. Glasser, Epstein Becker, Labor, Employment Attorney, Publishing
Member

NATHANIEL M. GLASSER is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the Washington, DC, office of Epstein Becker Green. His practice focuses on the representation of leading companies and firms, including publishing and media companies, financial services institutions, and law firms, in all areas of labor and employment relations.

Mr. Glasser’s experience includes:

  • Defending clients in employment litigation, from single-plaintiff to class action disputes,...

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Lauri F. Rasnick, epstein becker green, new york, labor, employment
Member

LAURI F. RASNICK is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice in the firm's New York office.

Ms. Rasnick has significant experience representing employers in labor and employment matters. She regularly advises clients in many aspects of the employment relationship, including avoidance of litigation, employee terminations, disability and religious accommodation issues, wage and hour compliance, internal investigations, labor relations, and compliance with federal, state and local statutes. Ms. Rasnick frequently advises clients on the enforcement and drafting of restrictive covenants and employment agreements, and defends claims for bonuses and other compensation and litigates claims involving restrictive covenants and trade secrets. 

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Michael F. McGahan, Epstein Becker Green, Collective Bargaining Attorney, Grievance Arbitration Lawyer,
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MICHAEL F. MCGAHAN is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice in the New York office, where he is a member of the firm's traditional labor team. He has over 35 years of experience representing employers in a wide range of industries including health care, insurance, hospitality and theater.

Mr. McGahan's experience includes representing employers in:

  • Collective bargaining, mediation, and grievance arbitration

  • Proceedings before the National...

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Steven M. Swirsky labor employment lawyer health care and life sciences attorney
Member of the Firm

STEVEN M. SWIRSKY is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment and Health Care and Life Sciences practices, in the firm's New York office. He regularly represents employers in a wide range of industries, including retail, health care, manufacturing, banking and financial services, manufacturing, transportation and distribution, electronics and publishing. He frequently advises and represents United States subsidiaries and branches of Asian, European and other foreign-based companies.

Mr. Swirsky:

  • Advises employers on a full range of labor and...
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Amanda Gomez Lawyer Employment Labor Workforce Management
Associate

AMANDA M. GÓMEZ is an Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. She will be focusing her practice on wage and hour issues and the preparation of employment policies and procedures as well as employee handbooks and manuals.

Ms. Gómez received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she was the Executive Submissions Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender. While attending Harvard Law, Ms. Gómez served as a Legal Intern at an...

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