On April 28, 2021, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed Bill No. 200625 which, effective January 1, 2022, prohibits employers from requiring prospective employees to undergo testing for the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment. Currently, only New York City and Nevada have similar drug testing restrictions, but we expect this trend to continue. Nevada prohibits employers from taking adverse action against applicants who test positive for marijuana, with exceptions for, among other jobs, safety-sensitive positions and motor vehicle drivers who are subject to testing under state or federal law. New York City, with some similar exceptions, also bars employers from requiring applicants to submit to testing for marijuana.
There are exceptions to the new Philadelphia bill. Specifically, the prohibition does not apply to individuals applying to work in the following positions or professions:
It also does not apply to drug testing required pursuant to:
The bill requires the agency tasked with enforcement responsibility to promulgate regulations for the implementation and administration of the new requirements.
In a time where marijuana legalization is rapidly expanding, all employers should reassess their workplace drug testing policies to be sure they are in compliance with existing and soon to be effective laws. This rapidly evolving legal landscape presents new challenges for employers, especially multi-state employers. Employers must balance complying with conflicting federal, state, and local laws, maintaining a safe work environment, and protecting applicants’ and employees’ privacy and other legal rights.