Mt. Baker Chapter of SHRM

ESSB 5123 Will Limit Pre-Employment Cannabis Tests

Friday, July 07, 2023 11:45 AM | Marley Morgan

Governor Jay Inslee has signed ESSB 5123, which will prohibit Washington employers from requiring pre-employment testing for non-psychoactive cannabis (marijuana) metabolites of applicants who lawfully consume cannabis away from work, except under limited circumstances, effective January 1, 2024. It creates a new protected group and makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against these lawful cannabis consumers in the hiring process, unless one of the limited exceptions is present. However, the bill doesn’t affect any employer’s rights or obligations to maintain a drug-free and alcohol-free workplace, comply with federal laws or regulations, or test current employees for drugs (including cannabis). The bill also specifies that if a state or federal law requires an applicant to be tested for controlled substances, that law takes priority over the new bill.

Employers may still test job candidates for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites when they are seeking certain positions in law enforcement or as first responders. In addition, the bill contains three exceptions that may be relevant to manufacturers:

  • A position requiring a federal government background investigation or security clearance;
  • A position in the airline or aerospace industries; or
  • A safety sensitive position for which impairment while working presents a substantial risk of death. Such safety sensitive positions must be identified by the employer before the applicant submits an employment application.

Find more information here: Vigilant Blog | WASHINGTON: New bill limits most pre-employment cannabis tests

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