Washington Drug Testing Laws 2022

Washington Drug Testing Laws 2022


Table Of Contents:

Washington does not have any specific law regulating or restricting an employer from conducting drug testing. However, employers who adopt a drug-free workplace program may require an employee to submit to either a drug test for controlled substances or an alcohol test. Violation of drug-free workplace policy or refusal to comply with a drug test on the part of the employee can constitute grounds for considering him/ her equivalent to a positive test and may cause the employer to discipline the employee.

Although, federal law requires testing by employers in safety-sensitive industries such as transportation, aviation, the Department of Defense, and others. In Washington, the state and local law enforcement agencies determine the rights and limitations of an employer in performing a drug test. A Medical Review Officer (MRO) is generally not required, but it is essential to seek an MRO to avoid liability.

Drug Testing in Private Employment

The state of Washington does not address drug testing in private employment. The employer may perform drug or alcohol testing if the employer has reasonable grounds for believing that the employee is under the influence of drugs.  However, employers cannot administer a drug or alcohol test without having a policy that complies with legal requirements, a well-established procedure. The employer should also ensure that none of the information relating to a drug test will be publicized.

Who will be tested and why?

The employer may choose to perform a drug test for assessing an employee for the following reasons:

Random Selection Testing

An employee shall submit to a drug test on a random selection basis.

* Reasonable Suspicion Testing

An employee must submit to a drug test if there is a reasonable suspicion that the employee is under the influence of a controlled substance.

* Pre-appointment Testing

An employee or applicant must take specific standard tests such as urine sample testing before occupying a designated position. 

* Follow-up Testing

An employee may submit to a follow-up testing if the employee voluntarily disclosed drug or alcohol problems, entered into or completed a rehabilitation program, failed, or refused a pre-appointment drug test within the previous 24-month period.

* Post-incident Testing

An employee shall submit to a drug test if there is evidence that the employee may have caused or contributed to an on-duty accident or harm resulting in death or injury requiring immediate medical attention.

Washington MMJ Laws and Drug Testing 2022

MMJ was legalized in Washington with the passing of the MMJ Act in 1998. After that, the Washington MMJ Legalization and Regulation Initiative was passed in 2012, which legalized MMJ use and possession for adults 21 and older, and created a regulating body and framework for the production and sale of MMJ for adult-use. Shortly after, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (CPPA) was passed in 2015 that legalized recreational MMJ in Washington.

The Washington medical and recreational MMJ law does not prohibit an employer from drug testing an employee under reasonable suspicion. This means there is no requirement for an employer to accommodate the use of MMJ in the workplace. Under Washington law, employers are also not required to accommodate MMJ use outside the workplace setting.

Washington Newborn Drug Testing Laws

The state of Washington requires all babies born in Washington to be screened for detection and prevention of certain disorders. A drug test isn't mandatory. However, Washington law requires pregnant and lactating women to screen for a drug test or an alcohol test if there is reasonable ground to believe that the child is being abused. In such cases, the Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Department of Children and Family Service (DCFS) may get involved and bring both the mother and the newborn under their scrutiny.

Top 10 Drug Test Companies in Washington

The growing instance of illicit drug users among employees coupled with the legalization of MMJ has led employers to enforce drug-free workplace policies for disciplining and discharging employees. Here's a list of the top 10 companies that conduct drug testing in Washington:

  • Xerox
  • Walgreens
  • Nintendo
  • Target
  • Fred Meyer
  • Costco
  • Microsoft
  • Pepsi
  • Boeing
  • Safeway

The takeaway 

A drug-free workplace ensures a safer working environment by reducing the risks and dangers of an employee under the influence of drugs. However, employers need to be aware of the existing statutes that prohibit workplace discrimination against applicants and employees in the workplace. Employers also must ensure that their workplace drug testing procedures comply with the legal requirements required by the state of Washington. Lastly, employees can bring up their grievances to the court of law if they believe that their test was illegal and perceive their employers' actions violate the drug-free workplace clarified by the State of Washington.

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