What Are the New York Drug Testing Compliances to Follow

If you’re an employer of a small business and living in New York, then you’re going to want to make sure you’re up to date on the New York drug testing rules and regulations. People are feeling a bit confused about the drug testing regulations in New York after the recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use that happened in March, 2021. If you’d like to learn more about what are the New York drug testing compliances to follow and how they may impact your small business, keep reading:

1. Random Testing
New York drug testing laws state that there are no laws prohibiting employers from performing random drug tests in New York, the only exception is if it pertains to marijuana testing, which is now no longer legal due to the law change. Random testing can be a great way to ensure that your staff are aware that drug testing could happen at any time. But random testing must be actually random – which means that it has to be relatively evenly spread throughout the calendar year, and you must implement a scientifically valid method for choosing who will be tested.

2. Testing for Alcohol
For testing of substances that are legal, such as alcohol, the employer must have reasonable grounds for testing and they must be relevant to their ability to perform in the workplace. One exception to this is if the employee has been in a substance rehabilitation program, then the employer can elect to do alcohol testing as part of the transition back into the workforce. If the worker has a position that is considered sensitive, then it may be possible to do alcohol testing.

3. Testing for Marijuana
Like alcohol, marijuana is now legal in New York for recreational purposes, this means that employers cannot test for marijuana. There are certain industries that are considered sensitive and have some exceptions, such as transport based jobs, or the NYPD, but for most industries it is no longer possible to screen for marijuana or to make hireage decisions based on a positive test result.

Challenges Small Businesses Face
One of the main challenges small businesses face when it comes to drug screening is access to the correct information. Chances are you won’t have a dedicated HR team to manage drug screening, so you may need to take that role yourself or delegate it to someone on your team. Another challenge small businesses may face is that the cost of legal advice can be quite considerable compared to the company’s budget and earnings. This can make it feel harder to access the correct legal information.

This information is provided only for informational purposes and if you have any doubts or need any legal guidance, we suggest that you find an expert on the drug testing laws in New York or in your relevant state.  It’s important to make sure you’re up to date with the law and any changes that may come into place and affect drug screening in your workplace environment. 

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.