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Nevada Drug Testing Laws – A Comprehensive Guide

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Nevada drug testing laws have undergone significant changes in recent years, particularly in relation to marijuana. With the legalization of marijuana in many states across the US, including Nevada, employers have had to navigate new regulations and considerations when it comes to drug testing their employees. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key aspects of Nevada drug testing laws, including pre-employment testing, safety-sensitive industries, medical marijuana, and more.

Nevada Drug Testing Laws

Pre-Employment Marijuana Law

One of the most significant changes in Nevada drug testing laws is the pre-employment marijuana law, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. Under this law, employers are prohibited from failing or refusing to hire prospective employees solely because they test positive for marijuana metabolites in a drug test. This law aims to protect individuals who legally consume marijuana for recreational or medical purposes from discrimination in the hiring process.

It is important to note that the pre-employment marijuana law does not apply to federally mandated programs, such as the US Department of Transportation (DOT) drug testing requirements. Employers still have the right to conduct pre-employment drug testing for these programs.

Safety-Sensitive Industries

While the pre-employment marijuana law provides protections for individuals using marijuana, there are exceptions for safety-sensitive industries. Safety-sensitive industries include positions where an employee’s impairment by marijuana could pose a risk to the safety of themselves or others. Examples of safety-sensitive industries may include firefighters, EMTs, truck drivers, and healthcare workers.

In safety-sensitive industries, employers still have the right to reject job applicants if they test positive for marijuana in a pre-employment drug screening. This exception is in place to ensure that individuals in these positions are not under the influence of marijuana while performing their duties, which could potentially endanger others.

Medical Marijuana

Nevada has a medical marijuana program that allows individuals with valid medical marijuana cards to use marijuana for treatment purposes. Employers in Nevada are required to navigate the complexities of accommodating employees who have a valid medical marijuana card while still maintaining a safe and drug-free workplace.

While the law does provide protections for individuals with medical marijuana cards, there are exceptions for safety-sensitive positions. Employers in safety-sensitive industries may still have the right to reject job applicants or take disciplinary action against employees who test positive for marijuana, even if they have a valid medical marijuana card. It is crucial for employers to consult legal counsel to determine the appropriate accommodations for employees with medical marijuana cards while ensuring workplace safety.

Drug Testing Procedures

Nevada does not have specific restrictions on the types of drug testing procedures that employers can use. However, facilities that perform instant or point-of-care testing must have a lab license. Employers can choose to use instant testing or send samples to licensed laboratories such as Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp, or Alere Toxicology.

When it comes to drug panels, there are no specific restrictions in Nevada. However, employers should ensure that the laboratory they work with has the necessary licenses and certifications. This includes checking with the Nevada Department of Health and working with reputable testing facilities.

Medical Review Officer (MRO)

While not required by Nevada law, it is highly recommended for employers to work with a Medical Review Officer (MRO) for drug testing procedures. An MRO is a licensed physician who reviews and interprets drug test results, ensuring accuracy and legitimacy. Having an MRO can help employers limit their liability and ensure that drug test results are handled appropriately.

For DOT-regulated drug testing, an MRO is always required. The DOT has specific regulations and guidelines for drug testing procedures, including the involvement of an MRO.

Random and Reasonable Suspicion Testing

Nevada does not have specific restrictions on random drug testing or testing based on reasonable suspicion. Employers have the discretion to implement random drug testing programs and conduct testing when reasonable suspicion of drug use arises.

However, it is important for employers to establish clear guidelines and policies regarding random and reasonable suspicion testing to ensure fairness and consistency. These guidelines should be communicated to employees and applied consistently throughout the organization.

Post-Accident Testing

Nevada does not have specific restrictions on post-accident drug testing. However, employers should follow a “reasonable basis” for requiring a post-accident drug test. This means that there should be a legitimate reason to believe that drug use may have contributed to the accident or incident.

Employers should establish clear policies and procedures for post-accident testing, including the circumstances under which testing will be conducted and the consequences for a positive drug test result. It is essential to ensure that these policies are communicated to employees and applied consistently.

Unemployment Denial and Workers’ Compensation

In Nevada, employers have the right to terminate employees for misconduct related to drug use. Misconduct, including violating a drug-free workplace policy, can be grounds for unemployment denial. Employers should clearly define their drug-free workplace policies and address misconduct in these policies to protect their rights in cases of unemployment claims.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, compensation may not be payable for an injury that is proximately caused by an employee’s use of a controlled substance. Employers should consider including specific provisions regarding drug use and workers’ compensation in their drug-free workplace policies to protect their interests.

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Navigating Nevada drug testing laws can be complex, especially with the evolving landscape of marijuana legalization. It is crucial for employers to stay informed about the latest regulations and requirements to ensure compliance while maintaining a safe and drug-free workplace. By understanding the pre-employment marijuana law, safety-sensitive industries, medical marijuana considerations, and other relevant factors, employers can develop effective drug testing programs that protect their interests and the well-being of their employees.

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