Massachusetts Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Massachusetts Drug Testing Laws 2024

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has no official drug testing law, but employers in the state may enact drug-free workplace policies that comply with federal regulations like the Americans with Disabilities Act. Such employers are expected to reasonably accommodate off-duty medical cannabis use for employees with disabilities, as ruled by the Supreme Judicial Court inBarbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing. In Webster v. Motorola, the Supreme Judicial Court established that the validity of drug testing may also depend on the importance of employees' job roles. Employers may be unable to sanction employees with detectable levels of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites if it does not affect their competence at work.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, employers who have drug testing policies may test employees for amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, and phencyclidine (PCP). Such employers can conduct the following marijuana tests if the procedures do not violate employees’ rights:

  • Pre-Employment Tests - Employers may require applicants to submit for marijuana tests before being employed
  • Reasonable Suspicion Tests - Employers may decide to test employees reasonably suspected of violating drug-free workplace policies
  • Post-Accident Tests - This is testing employees involved in accidents at work to determine whether they were under the influence of marijuana at the time of the incidents
  • Random Tests - This involves the unscheduled testing of employees for marijuana use to ensure compliance with drug-free workplace policies
  • Post-Treatment Tests - Employees who successfully complete marijuana rehabilitation programs may be tested after the program to ensure they remain clean
  • Annual Physical Examination Tests - Marijuana tests may be included as part of employees’ annual physical examinations to ensure they are fit for work

A Massachusetts employer may collect an employee’s hair follicles, blood, saliva, or urine as a specimen to conduct a marijuana drug test.

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts laws do not restrict employers from conducting random drug testing on employees. The state Supreme Court ruled in Webster v. Motorola that the validity of such tests depends on an employee’s job description/responsibilities and the employer’s interests. Random drug testing procedures in the state must also comply with federal laws and regulations on drug testing. Employers may notify employees of such drug tests in accordance with their drug testing policies.

What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test in Massachusetts for a Job?

Employees who fail drug tests in Massachusetts may face disciplinary actions or lose their jobs. Such employees may be suspended from work without pay and required to complete mandatory drug rehabilitation programs.

Can I Be Fired for Refusing a Drug Test in Massachusetts?

Yes, employers with drug-free workplace policies can fire employees who refuse drug tests in Massachusetts. Employees who are fired for refusing drug tests may be unable to contest the decision.

Can You Get Fired for Failing a Drug Test with a Medical Card in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts laws provide some protections for medical marijuana cardholders from getting fired for failing workplace drug tests. For instance, employers must reasonably accommodate employees who use medical marijuana to treat disabilities. Hence, such employees cannot be fired for positive drug tests due to off-duty marijuana use. It is also illegal for employers to discriminate against job applicants who have medical marijuana cards. However, the provisions of An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana do not require employers in the Commonwealth to accommodate the on-site use of medical marijuana at workplaces. Hence, employers can fire medical marijuana cardholders for failing marijuana tests if they use their marijuana prescriptions on duty.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts laws do not restrict employers from conducting drug tests on job applicants during interview stages. Employers can conduct drug tests using urine, hair, saliva, or blood samples. However, applicants must be notified of the possibility of submitting to drug testing. Employers may choose not to hire applicants who test positive for drugs or refuse to submit to drug testing.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Massachusetts?

Yes, pre-employment drug testing is allowed in Massachusetts. An employer in the Commonwealth with a pre-employment drug testing policy may require an applicant to submit to drug testing upon issuing them a conditional offer of employment. Such employers may conduct pre-employment drug testing regardless of whether they suspect applicants of drug use.

Does Massachusetts Allow Public Agencies to Submit Employees to Workplace Drug Tests?

While the Commonwealth has no workplace drug testing law, public agencies in Massachusetts can enact policies that require employees to submit for workplace drug tests. However, such policies must not violate the rights of public employees.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Employers in Massachusetts may create drug-free workplace policies that require their employees to submit for drug tests. The Commonwealth does not have a drug-free workplace program. However, no law restricts employers from adopting such policies or programs. Employers must enact drug-free workplace policies that comply with federal laws and do not violate any state law.

Employees Exempted From Massachusetts Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Massachusetts laws do not specify employees who are exempted from their employers’ drug-free workplace policies. However, federal regulations may exempt federal workers from some provisions of drug testing laws.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, employers with drug-free workplace policies may choose the drug testing labs they want to work with. The Department of Public Health (DPH) is responsible for certifying drug testing labs in the Commonwealth.

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