“Philadelphia is the latest city to ban employers from using marijuana drug tests to screen job applicants. City Council approved the measure last week, and Mayor Jim Kenney will sign it into law, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer . The new law, which takes effect in 90 days, will prohibit probation officers, other city agencies and the Philadelphia Police Department from drug testing workers or applicants.”
Senator Mike Stack introduced Senate Bill 528, which banned marijuana drug tests for employment screening in Philadelphia. Marijuana has many health benefits when used recreationally, but some employers still insist on disallowing employees from using marijuana in their personal time.If you’re applying for a job in Philadelphia in 2022, you won’t have to worry about the weed you smoked over the weekend. A new law that takes effect next year prohibits companies from making a successful marijuana test a condition of employment. The decision by the Philadelphia City Council and Mayor Jim Kenney makes the City of Brotherly Love one of the few governments to pass such a law. Similar laws exist in New York and Nevada, as well as Atlanta, Washington and Maine. But there are exceptions. Therefore, every job seeker and business owner in Philadelphia should familiarize themselves with the details of this law.
New Philadelphia Law
Philadelphia City Councilman Derek Green, who introduced the bill behind the new law, told the Philadelphia Inquirer it was a step in the right direction. We use a pre-rental test for a doctor recommended product for people in the City of Philadelphia who are licensed to use it. It seems very contradictory, Green said. The new law prohibits employers, labor organizations and employment agencies in the city of Philadelphia from requiring potential employees to undergo a marijuana test under certain conditions.
However, there are some exceptions to this law. These include the following types of work or occupations:
- Police officers or other law enforcement officials
- Vacancies for which a commercial driver’s licence is required
- Any work that requires supervision or care of children, medical patients, disabled persons or other vulnerable persons.
- Any work in which the employee may significantly affect the health or safety of other employees or members of the public.
And that’s not all. Potential employees can still be tested for cannabis use if they apply for a job that requires drug testing:
- Federal or state laws, regulations or orders
- A contract or grant from the federal government that requires drug testing of potential employees as a condition of receiving the contract or grant.
- A collective agreement between the employer and the employees that provides for pre-employment drug testing of job applicants
What does this mean for employers?
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has written about how the law will affect human resource managers in the City of Philadelphia. Attorney Louis Hodoff of Ballard Spahr in Mount Laurel, N.J., told SHRM the law may not have as much impact in practice. Hodoff said the Philadelphia decision may not affect many companies because employers are phasing out pre-employment testing and the exceptions to the decision cover a range of employers and industries where testing is mandatory and standard. However, employers are advised to review their drug testing policies and protocols to ensure compliance. SHRM found that there is no evidence that marijuana use outside of work hours affects work productivity. A recent study by a group of economists used data showing that cannabis has no impact on productivity and can reduce workers’ compensation claims.