New York City Council Passes Bill to Ban Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

The New York City Council recently passed a bill that, if signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, would prohibit most New York City employers from requiring job applicants to submit to drug tests for marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol (the active ingredient in marijuana, also known as “THC”) use as a condition of employment, with certain exceptions. The bill would amend the New York City Fair Chance Act, which bans New York City employers from asking about job applicants’ criminal records before extending an offer of employment. Upon the Mayor’s signature, the bill would become effective in one year.

The bill prohibits employers from “requiring a prospective employee to submit to testing . . . as a condition of employment.” This bill, unlike other states, would prohibit marijuana testing any time before hire. Exceptions are provided for safety and security sensitive jobs, and those tied to a federal/state contract or grant.

Notably, the bill would not prohibit New York City employers from testing current employees for marijuana. Therefore, while certain employees in New York City may not have to submit to testing to obtain employment, they may still be subject to testing to remain employed.

Given the rapidly-changing landscape in this area, including the protections for the use of medical and recreational marijuana and its derivatives, companies are reassessing whether to require drug testing for applicants and employees. Although the bill in New York City may be a trailblazer, it is likely not the last.

This information has been prepared by Validity Screening Solutions for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. The content is intended for general information purposes only, and you are urged to consult a lawyer concerning your own situation and any specific legal questions you may have.