New State and Federal Drug Testing Laws Impacting Employers in 2020

January | National: Several states and one city have new laws that employers must comply with regarding the management of workplace drug and alcohol screenings.

US Approves Oral Fluid Drug Testing for Truckers

January |National: Truck drivers soon could face oral fluid testing for controlled substances under a new directive from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Iowa Drug Testing Statute Provides Exclusive Remedy for Violations; Separate Wrongful Discharge Claim is Barred

January |Iowa: The Iowa Supreme Court determined that when a statute provides for civil remedies, those remedies are exclusive and an employer’s risk will not include emotional stress or punitive damage.

Bill Prohibiting Use of Fake Urine to Cheat Drug Tests Passes Ohio State

February | Ohio: A bill has been passed that would prohibit the use of synthetic urine to defraud a drug test.

Employers Request to Count Employee’s Prescription Medication Sufficient to Support Invasion of Privacy Claim

February | Alabama: A federal court in Alabama held that an employer’s request to count an employee’s prescription medication supported the employee’s claim for invasion of privacy.

Iowa Workplace Injuries and Drug Tests

February | Iowa: Amendments made in 2017 to the Iowa workers’ compensation statute have led to questions about drug testing employees who have been injured on the job.

U.S. DOT Issues Warning Regarding Use of CBD Products by DOT-Regulated Employees

March | National: The DOT ODAPC published a notice concerning the use of hemp and CBD products by safety-sensitive employees regulated by DOT’s agencies.

Federal Appeals Court Holds Test for Illegal Drugs is Not an Impermissible Medical Examination, Even If Test May Reveal Lawful Drug Use

March | Oklahoma: A federal appeals court upheld the termination of an employee who tested positive for amphetamines on a random drug test even though he claimed it was from OTC drug use.

Failed Drug Test Not Enough to Dismiss Claim of Disability Discrimination in New Jersey

March | New Jersey: The Supreme Court of New Jersey held that a plaintiff’s lawsuit could proceed, finding that using medical marijuana outside of work could be considered reasonable accommodation.

Drug Testing During a Pandemic: COVID-19 & Collection Site Safety

March | National: Guidance has been issued relating to drug testing concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic that states truckers are required to drug test employees for several purposes.

Drug Testing Law Under Iowa Law

March | Iowa: The Court of Appeals issued two decisions relating to the state’s drug testing statutes, which place the burden on the employer to show strict compliance.

Alcohol in the Workplace Quiz

March | National: This quiz reveals how much you know about alcohol use and abuse in the workplace.

DOT Drivers With Violations Still Able to Fall Through the Cracks

April | National: New data released by the DOT indicates that thousands of truck drivers could have already failed a drug test while remaining employed and operating commercial vehicles.

FMCSA Addresses Potential Disruptions to Drug and Alcohol Testing During COVID-19 Crisis

April | National: The FMCSA has issued guidance to address potential disruptions to mandated drug and alcohol testing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pre-Employment Drug Screening Policies Are Changing for Oregon Employers

May |Oregon: Despite a lack of state-mandated legal guidance, many companies are making quiet efforts to relax their drug testing policies.

A Guide to the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Rules

May |National: Efforts have been doubled to ensure employers in the trucking industry are ensuring their drivers’ drug and alcohol compliance.

FMCSA Proposes New Licensing Rules to Prevent Driving by CMV Drivers with Drug and Alcohol Program Violations

May |National: The U.S. DOT’s FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking that addresses individuals prohibited from driving a commercial motor vehicle as identified by the FMCSA’s Clearinghouse.

Technology to Detect Cocaine Consumption with the Help of Fingerprint

May |United Kingdom: A test has been developed that takes less than two minutes and can detect a trace of cocaine on human skin.

Drug Testing Rate Increased to 50% in 2020

May |National: The annual minimum percentage rate for random controlled substances testing for truck drivers has been increased to 50 percent for the average number of driver positions.

Hair Testing May Be Biased, Ineffective

May | National: A new bill would allow the DOT to authorize hair testing instead of urinalysis to test drivers for drug use, but critics say it could be unfair for specific groups of people.

Remote Drug Screening Gains Acceptance During Pandemic

June | National: Employers are continuing to explore options for drug screening in response to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

FMCSA Extends Waiver Period for Certain Pre-Employment Drug Tests from 30 to 90 Days

June | National: Employers who wish to take advantage of an extended 90-day waiver period recently announced by the DOT’s FMCSA must ensure three things.

U.S. Approves Oral Fluid Drug Testing for Truckers

July | National: A directive from the U.S. Department of Human Services will allow federal agencies to collect and test an oral fluid specimen as part of their drug testing programs.

FMCSA Announces It May Not Enforce Minimum Required Random Drug and Alcohol Test Rates During 2020

July | National: The U.S. DOT’s FMCSA issued a Notice of Enforcement Discretion Determination in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drug-Test Cheating by Drivers Could Review Calls for Hair Testing

July | National: Statistics released by the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse indicate that 13 percent of drug-testing violations collected during the second half of the year were classified as “refusals” during the pre-employment process.

Implementing Multiple Drug Testing Methodologies in Your Workplace

August | National: Each with unique attributes, employers have adopted three major testing methods in the workplace: urine, hair and oral fluids.

Returning Workers May Bring Drug, Alcohol Problems With Them

August |National: As a result of the stress causes by COVID-19, employees are turning to both legal and illegal substances to manage anxiety and depression.

Keep Out: How to Stop Drugs and Alcohol From Entering the Workplace

September | National: The pandemic has created challenges when it comes to ensuring compliance with workplace drug and alcohol policies.

Supreme Court of Ohio Gives Employers the Green Light to Drug Test At-Will Employees Under Direct Observation When the Employees Give Broad Consent

September | Ohio: The Supreme Court ruled that employees who sign consent forms regarding testing that don’t mention direct observation failed to state a claim for invasion of privacy.

Quest Diagnostics Study Finds 16-Year High in Positive Workplace Drug Test Results for 2019

September | Marijuana: A Quest Diagnostics study has revealed that employers saw the highest rate of positive workforce drug test results since 2003, with marijuana topping the charts.

Feds Push for Hair Follicle Drug Testing Despite Known Racial Disparities in Results

October | National: The Department of HHS has announced that it could establish scientific and technical guidelines for the inclusion of hair specimens in mandatory guidelines.

Work from Home’s Impact on Drug Testing

October | National: The pandemic has caused safety concerns when it comes to workplace drug screening and employers are facing new rules and policies.

Random Drug Testing Guidelines

October | National: The use of a drug-free workplace policy and program could help discourage the use of drugs and alcohol while employees are working, but it comes with requirements.

Worker Drug Abuse Hit New Record in 2019

October | National: Quest Diagnostics has revealed that the number of workforce positive drug tests in the U.S. hit a 16-year high in 2019.

Rhode Island Employee May Proceed With Lawsuit Alleging That Termination For Failed Breath Test Violated State Law

October | Rhode Island: A Rhode Island lawsuit in which an employee claimed that her employer violated the state’s drug testing law when it terminated her after a first offense will proceed.

Court Upholds Jury Verdict that Directly-Observed Urine Collections Did Not Constitute Constructive Discharge

November | Washington: An employer’s drug testing protocol requiring direct observation of urine collections did not invade an employee’s privacy and did not constitute a constructive discharge.

Request for Medical Examination Was Permissible Under ADA After Positive Drug Test Result

November | Indiana: An Indiana federal court dismissed an employee’s claim that his employer did not have the right to request a medical examination after he tested positive for drugs.

Pennsylvania Court Affirms Unemployment Benefits for Medical Marijuana User

November | Pennsylvania: An employee of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority was granted unemployment benefits after testing positive for marijuana for which he had been legally prescribed.

Current Illicit Drug Use Trends

December | National: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reveals 2018 results.

6 Things Employers Need to Consider Before Conducting Drug Tests

December | Oregon: Oregon became the first state to decriminalize possession of hard drugs, leading employers to wonder if they should update drug testing or hiring policies.