New York City Prohibits Pre-Employment Drug Testing for Marijuana

May 13th, 2019 | Joe Rotondo, Vice President of Compliance, Sterling

On April 9, 2019, the New York City Council passed a first-of-its-kind bill that prohibits pre-employment drug testing for the presence of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols. The bill will take effect one year after enactment. The law would not prohibit employer drug-testing programs that test existing employees for marijuana.

The law amends Section 8-107 of the New York City Administrative Code by adding subdivision 31 to specifically prohibit employers, labor organizations, employment agencies or their agents from requiring job applicants to submit to testing for the presence of any marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols as a condition of employment.

The law does provide for the following exemptions for applicants that apply for a position (a) in law enforcement, such as police officers, peace officers, or investigators with the department of investigation (b) as laborers, mechanics, workers, contractors or other persons working on a public work site (c) that requires compliance with Section 3321 of the NYC Building Code (d) requiring a commercial driver’s license (e) requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients or vulnerable persons as defined by Section 488(15) of the New York Social Services Law (f) that could significantly impact the safety or health of employees or members of the public, as determined by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services or identified in regulations issued by the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

The law includes exclusions where drug testing of prospective employees is required in accordance with: (a) regulations issued by the United States Department of Transportation and/or the New York State or New York City Departments of Transportations (b) any contracts or grants from the federal government to an employer (c) federal or state statutes (d) a collective bargaining agreement.

The City is expected to provide further clarity once it issues rules for the law’s implementation. Once the law takes effect, covered employers will be unable to conduct pre-hire marijuana testing as a condition of employment. The NYC Council has provided employers one year in which to come into compliance.

The full text of the ordinance can be found here:

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Clients are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel on the impact of this new law. Sterling is not a law firm, and none of the information contained in this notice is intended as legal advice.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.