Q&A of the Day – Florida employers drug testing in the age of medical marijuana
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
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Today’s entry... About Drug testing in Florida.
- There shouldn't be any doubt about certain jobs where drug usage and impaired judgement could prove hazardous. EG. Airline Pilots; the security forces and the military; or any job which requires precision.
- Are there new rules about marijuana at work in Florida?
Bottom Line: A recent conversation I had about changes with employer drug testing resulted in a lot of feedback and a few questions. These are a couple of the notes I received. The new state laws about marijuana use can be confusing for employers and employees. So, let’s start with the first note that suggests certain jobs shouldn’t allow anyone to work with impaired judgement. That’s still the case based on federal law. These job categories have mandated drug testing, which includes testing for marijuana, based on federal law:
- Hazardous materials/energy
Also, because marijuana is federally illegal, any federal employee working in Florida may not use marijuana in any form. About second question...
Florida participates in the federal Drug Free Workplace Program. This enables any employer in the state to apply random drug testing programs and use federal standards for violations. This means that any employer may decide that marijuana use, including medical marijuana isn’t allowed as a condition of employment. This is the most fluid aspect of what’s changing across the state right now. The combination of state-sanctioned medical marijuana use along with a tight labor market has led to fewer employers choosing to use the Drug Free Workplace program and drug test.
Using information from the Society for Human Resource Management, approximately 80% of Florida’s employers had some form of drug test program in place a decade ago. Last year just 57% of employers were still testing. Aside from drug testing, given that Florida’s an “At-will” work state, employers can choose to apply restrictions on employment if they don’t discriminate based on race, age, gender or religion.
A lot has changed with drug testing in Florida. A lot continues to change. Employers are balancing changing state laws and a tight labor market while employees are evaluating medical options that weren’t previously available but may conflict with employer policy. If you’re potentially impacted, you should inquire about your employer or a perspective employer’s policy.