Effective January 1, 2020, Nevada’s newly signed bill, AB 132, criminalizes an employer’s refusal to hire a prospective employee because the prospective employee’s drug-screening test indicates the presence of marijuana. This law will not apply to all prospective employees; firefighters, emergency medical technicians, employees who will operate a motor vehicle, positions funded by federal grant, and employees who could adversely affect the safety of others are explicitly excluded from compliance with the law. Moreover, the provisions of the law do not apply to the extent they are inconsistent with or otherwise in conflict with the provisions of an employment contract, collective bargaining agreement or with federal law.
The new law also provides that if an employee is required to submit to a drug-screening test within the first 30 days of employment, then the employee has the right to submit to an additional screening test, at the employee’s expense, to rebut the results of the initial screening test. The employer must then accept and give appropriate consideration to the results of such additional screening test.
Though Nevada is the first state to pass legislation of this kind, employers across the country should be aware of this law as other states (particularly those states that have legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana use) may soon follow Nevada’s lead and pass similar initiatives.
If you have any questions regarding this law or its impact, please contact your labor and employment counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.