NYC Bans Pre-Employment Testing for Marijuana and THC

NYC Commission on Human Rights Issues Final Rules on Prohibition of Pre-Employment Testing for Marijuana and THC as a Condition of Employment

On May 10, 2020, while many employers were focused on the impacts of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, New York City’s Human Rights Law expansion banning pre-employment drug screenings for marijuana and THC as a condition of employment went into effect.

  • The rules will take effect on July 24, 2020, and the Commission on Human Rights will begin taking enforcement action against employers who are not compliant with the law.
  • NYC employers of four or more employees are now prohibited from using such screenings as a condition of employment.

Employers who violate the law can be subject to civil penalties of up to $250,000, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.

There are certain narrow exceptions to the testing ban for positions involved in medical care, child care or education, some construction-related positions, and positions involving public safety, such as law enforcement. In late June, the NYC Commission on Human Rights released additional rules expanding the exceptions to include positions involving operation of a motor vehicle, work on or near power or gas utility lines, and positions in which impairment would pose a serious risk of bodily harm or death to the employee or to others.