In the last year, many changes have been enacted regarding marijuana and its usage. Just this April, the state of Virginia announced that recreational marijuana usage would be permitted starting July 1 of this year. Even more recently, the Council of the City of Philadelphia prohibited testing for marijuana as a condition of employment, under specific terms and conditions. How will these new changes impact drug testing programs?
The changes in Virginia and Philadelphia are distinct, but they do share a few notable similarities. For starters, they are full of exemptions for safety and security-sensitive positions. In the state of Virginia, drug testing programs are still legally enforceable for employees in the security, government and construction sectors. Even if a specific employer doesn’t enforce such tests, they can still do so retroactively if a workplace accident were to occur.
The Philadelphia prohibition is also not an all-encompassing change. Drug testing programs for government jobs, construction, transportation (or any position involving driving at any capacity) and law enforcement are still legal and as important as ever.
As these changes begin to come into effect, we want to provide a reminder of the importance of thorough, well-crafted job descriptions. There are many factors that go into making effective job descriptions, but we’d like to emphasize safety descriptions in particular. If your business is still eligible to implement drug testing programs, it is critical that your job descriptions link the position’s essential functions to the importance of being free of illegal substances and alcohol. From there, you can segue into describing your drug screening program and which type of convictions could disqualify an applicant. Following these steps will help you establish very clear expectations for those considering applying for the position. Equally important, well-crafted job descriptions and drug testing programs can also protect you from liability concerns in the event that a workplace accident takes place down the road.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has since 1999 been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through the implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com