Washington Drug Laws For Employees.
The state of Washington doesn’t prohibit or restrict employee drug testing. Although many states have passed laws regulating or restricting an employer’s right to require drug testing, Washington is not one of them. No Washington law addresses drug testing in private employment. This means that employers are free to require or ask employees and applicants to take a drug test, as long as they don’t run afoul of other legal protections.
Legal Claims Arising From Drug Testing.
Have you been illegally asked or required to take a drug test in Washington? Even though Washington Drug Laws allow an employer to drug test, many employees and might may have legal claims based on how the test was conducted, who was tested or how the results were used.
Here are some examples:
- Violation of Washington Drug Laws And Procedures. Although an employer has the legal right to test, it must follow the state’s requirements. An Washington employer that doesn’t provide the required notice of its testing policy or observe state procedural rights (for example, by failing to conduct a confirmation test after an initial positive result or by allowing unauthorized personnel to perform the test) could face legal problems.
- Disability Discrimination. An applicant or employee who is taking medication for a disability is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Some prescribed medications turn up on drug tests and some drugs that would otherwise be illegal (such as opiates) are legitimately prescribed for certain conditions. If an applicant is turned down because of a positive drug test and the applicant’s medication was legally prescribed for a disability, the company could be liable.
- Other Discrimination Claims. An employer who singles out certain groups of employees – for example, by race, age, or gender – for drug testing could face a discrimination claim.
- Invasion Of Privacy. Even an employer that is allowed or required to test might violate employee privacy in the way it conducts the test. For example, requiring employees to disrobe or provide a urine sample in front of others could be a privacy violation.
- Defamation. An employee might have a valid claim for defamation if the employer ( that the employee tested positive, if the employer has reason to know that the test might not be accurate. For example, if a retest showed that the first test was a false positive or the employee has appealed the first test, the employer may be liable for revealing the results of the positive test beyond those with a need to know.
Breakdown Of Washington Drug Laws.
|Statute of Order:||Wash. Rev. Code §49.127.1 et seq., Wash. Admin. Code §356-46-125, §356-05-128|
|Covered Employers:||Private employers seeking to qualify for a 5% workers’ comp. premium discount, with approval by state authorities.|
|Applicant Testing:||Applicant testing authorized with advance written notice to applicant and after conditional offer of employment has been made.|
|Employee Testing:||Testing authorized for private employers on 60 days’ notice to employees, in cases of workplace accidents, as part of an employee assistance program, on reasonable suspicion of substance abuse, or at random. Employers’ written substance abuse policy must be posted and distributed to employees. State agencies can test on reasonable suspicion—stated in writing—for safety-sensitive positions pursuant to a written testing policy.|
|Conditions & Methods:||Testing only by certified laboratory, documentation showing chain of custody, confirming test for positive result, opportunity for employee to explain results, and methods to ensure confidentiality of test findings. First-time positive test result may not be grounds for termination. State agency policy must be approved by collective bargaining representative.|
|Testing Bullet Points:||
The Washington Drug Law For Marijuana Possession.
The Vast Majority Of Drug Test Failures in Washington Are For Breaking Washington Drug Laws For Marijuana, Not Federal Or Local Laws.
Washington drug laws have their own specific strengths you must avoid and weakness in which one can take advantage when it comes to marijuana. The same is true of the Federal Laws concerning marijuana.
Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in Washington behind only alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana has been used by nearly 100 million Americans at one time or another with an equal cross-section of people in Washington using marijuana. According to the federal government, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use. Washington is no exception in its implementation of marijuana law.
Unlike alcohol, for which impairment can be reasonably measured using a breathalyzer, valid detection for marijuana requires drug testing. This is time-consuming, complicated and the drug tests for marijuana cannot determine an approximate degree of impairment. The detection of marijuana is also complicated by the various types of drug testing available and the types of myths, half-truths and rumors that surround marijuana drug testing.
Overview Of Washington Drug Test Laws.
- Legal Outlook – Washington state law neither directs nor limits employers who wish to get drug testing procedures carried out on employees. The state is Open to the procedure and lays few guidelines for employers.
- Policy – No written policy is mandated. However, the presence of one helps in case of a dispute arising from workers compensation claim or for unemployment purposes. The policy should clearly state the employer’s stand with regard to a positive drug test response.
- Impact of Positive Testing – The organization is free to decide the action to be taken on its defaulting employees. There may be varying levels of consequence severity depending on the nature of work the employee carries out.
- Permitted Substance – The law is open to the use of marijuana prescribed for the purpose of medical reasons. There is a clear limitation on the use of this drug. Though there is legal acceptance of supervised consumption of marijuana, it is disallowed in the workplace, school bus, school grounds and at youth centers.
- Required Testing – Drivers and employees of motor carriers are required to go through a testing program conducted by the medical review officer or breath alcohol technicians. Any positive drug or alcohol test of a commercial motor vehicle driver must be reported to the department of licensing. The MRO or breath alcohol technicians may be under contract or direct appointment with the motor carrier or employer of the driver.
- Notice – The law does not lay down a requirement for a written notice to be posted at the workplace. The absence of a visible notice cannot be taken as a reason for being found under the influence of a substance.
- Cost – The law does not put the burden of the cost of drug testing on the employer. Since the employer is free to decide the drugs for which an individual is to be tested, it is advisable to clarify who bears the expense before opting for the tests.
- Timing of Drug Test – The law does not specify when a drug test may be initiated. The employer may ask a job aspirant to undergo a drug test before joining the company or may make drug testing a necessary condition for continued employment. Random drug tests are an available option to be used if there are significantly disturbing behaviors exhibited by an individual. Drug or alcohol tests may be carried out immediately after an accident.
- Jobs Specified – The law does not specify jobs for which mandatory drug testing is needed. The employer is free to choose jobs involving high risk exposure to the individual, other workers or to the public. The employer may direct all employees and job aspirants to undergo medical testing.
- What Substances – The absence of a legal definition about the substances for which testing may be done leaves the decision to the employer. Though marijuana may be consumed, it is not acceptable at work locations. The presence of marijuana detected in the employee’s sample may receive the same treatment as that of any other drug.