Starting January 1, 2020, employers in Nevada will be prohibited from failing or refusing to hire a prospective employee because of a positive test for marijuana. Assembly Bill No. 132 was signed into law by Governor Steve Sisolak on June 5, 2019, making Nevada the first state to enact such a prohibition (while Maine forbids employers from discriminating based on marijuana usage, it has no law specific for pre-employment drug testing). The New York City Council passed a similar bill in April 2019 that prohibits employers from requiring prospective employees to submit to a test for the presence of marijuana or THC.
As expected, there are several exceptions. The new measure does not apply to firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and any other job that, in the determination of the employer, “could adversely affect the safety of others.” The restrictions on marijuana employment screening also do not apply to the extent they conflict with federal law, a collective bargaining agreement, or employment contract.
Employers in Nevada should evaluate their hiring policies prior to the January 1, 2020 effective date. Specifically, employers should consider whether to remove cannabis from the drug testing panel altogether and determine if any of their employees’ job functions could adversely affect the safety of others.