On April 9, 2019, the New York City Council overwhelmingly approved legislation that will prohibit employers from requiring prospective hires to submit to pre-employment testing for the presence of marijuana. In fact, the bill makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice to do so. Notably, the new bill contains exemptions for candidates applying for jobs that may affect public safety, that may require a commercial driver’s license, or that involve the supervision of children or medical patients. The bill also does not seek to prevent drug testing as may be required by federal Department of Transportation regulations, any contract between the federal government and an employer, financial grants from the government to an employer, and any collective bargaining agreement that requires pre-employment drug testing of applicants. Despite these exemptions, the bill’s impact will be wide, reaching both private and public sector employers throughout New York City, including employers that may be headquartered outside New York state. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill, which would take effect one year from the date on which it is signed. Employers should begin reviewing their pre-employment screening procedures and drug testing policies to ensure compliance once the bill takes effect.
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