The Washington D.C. Council has unanimously passed legislation that will prohibit employers from drug-testing potential employees for cannabis before a conditional job offer has been made.
The proposal, titled the Prohibition of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Emergency Act of 2014 and introduced by Councilmember Vincent Orange, would makes it explicit that an employer cannot test a potential employee for cannabis use until after an offer for employment has been made. After such an offer has been made, and an employee has been hired, they must still “adhere to the workplace policies set forth by their employer”, meaning they can still be tested for on-the-job cannabis use.
“The citizens of the District voted for Initiative 71, to legalize marijuana, and this bill will protect citizens who legally smoke marijuana but are then subsequently penalized for it through loss of employment opportunities,” says Councilmember Orange. “The bill aims to prevent the loss of a job opportunity for job seekers who have used marijuana prior to receiving a job offer but it does not remove an employer’s right to prohibit the use of drugs at work or at any time during employment.”
Given the proposal was passed as emergency legislation, it will take effect immediately after being signed by D.C.’s mayor, which is expected to occur quickly. However, it will also be temporary, meaning the Council will need to approve new legislation if they plan to make the change permanent.
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