This week’s post was co-authored by Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz.
Earlier this year, we covered the topic of drug testing in the workplace. Since then, several states have passed legislation legalizing recreational use of cannabis, including Connecticut; this new law not only legalizes the recreational use of cannabis in the state, but also imposes various obligations and restrictions on employers, which are effective July 1, 2022. While certain employers in the manufacturing industry may be exempt from these employment-related restrictions in the new law, manufacturers may still be impacted.
To provide background, the employment-related provisions of the new law require that employers conducting pre-employment drug testing provide a copy of the employer’s drug testing policy and notify candidates that a positive test result based on cannabis could result in rescission of the conditional job offer, which must be provided with a conditional job offer. The new law also addresses employer use of information regarding off-duty or past (pre-employment) use of cannabis of employees, among other related issues. Notably, certain positions and employers in certain industries are exempted from the employment-related restrictions contained in Connecticut’s law, including manufacturers with a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code of 31, 32, or 33. That being said, even exempt employers or employers with exempt positions may still wish to provide notice to employees that adverse employment action may result from recreational use of cannabis on or off duty and that employee’s and prospective employees are aware of the employer’s drug testing and use policy, especially given the attention that this new law has garnered.
Accordingly, before many of these provisions are in effect next July, employers may wish to implement or revise any written drug use and/or drug testing policies to unambiguously set forth their drug testing policy and procedures and relevant prohibitions on recreational cannabis usage; revise job offers to state that the offer is being provided contingent on passing a drug test (if applicable), including cannabis, and that testing positive may result in rescission of the offer; and review their drug testing practice and procedures as a whole in light of the new laws enacted in Connecticut and other states and how those laws may impact the particular employer’s safety, contractual, and other obligations.