Workplace Rights

Weekly (6/21/21)

Topic of the Week  Drug Testing

Many employers require their employees to submit to drug testing both before and after being hired. Most of the time after being hired an employer requires reasonable suspicion before having an employee take a drug test. Even with the recent legalization of marijuana in some states, employees in those states can still be punished for testing positive. The punishments for a failed drug test can include rehabilitation, termination, and losing unemployment benefits. 

1. How do I know if marijuana is legal in my state?

The laws surrounding marijuana are changing rapidly, with most states either legalizing it in some form, or considering legislation on the issue. A running list of states and their stance on marijuana can be found on Wikipedia. Be careful to note the differences in state laws. For example, some states have only decriminalized marijuana instead of fully or partially legalizing it. Other state have legalized marijuana, but only for medical usage. Furthermore, there can be many significant but small differences between state laws, and it is best to seek advice from an attorney in your area if you have questions or concerns.

2. Can I be fired for taking prescription medication under doctor's orders if it shows up on a drug test?

You may be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, an employer cannot discriminate based on disability. However, if over time the disability no longer exists, if the medication is interfering with your ability to perform essential job functions with reasonable accommodations, or if you are taking the medication illegally, then you can be fired.

3. I'm applying for a job, and my employer wants to give me a drug test. Is that legal?

Yes. In most cases, an employee seeking first-time employment can be tested as a condition of employment, even if there is no cause or reason to believe that the prospective employee has been taking drugs. The employer, however, must test all incoming employees for drugs and may not single you out for special treatment.

Some states have imposed limitations on pre-employment drug testing. For example, California allows a drug test only after the applicant has received an offer of employment conditioned on passing the test. In other states, employers that drug test are required to provide written notice or indicate in their job postings that testing is required.

Thought of the Week

"There is no mind over matter. Mind is matter. You don’t get over an illness by not talking about it. It isn’t weak to ask for help. It isn’t weak to want to survive. It isn’t a character flaw to experience bad things."

–Mattz Haig

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

    • Nearly one in ten men reported experiencing some form of depression or anxiety, but less than half sought treatment.
    • Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women
    • About 6 of every 10 men experience at least one trauma in their lives: Men are more likely to experience trauma related to accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury. 
    • Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women.
    • 49%of men feel more depressed than they admit to the people in their life.


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