A new Nevada law that bans employers from refusing to hire job candidates who fail a drug test due to the presence of marijuana has specifically carved out Fire, EMS, or employers whose employees must operate a motor vehicle. The new law, which was signed by Governor Sisolak on June 5th makes it unlawful for most employers to fail to hire a job candidate on the basis of failing a drug screen due to the presence of marijuana. Nevada is the first state to pass a law of this nature. The new law takes effect in 2020.
Many employers are struggling to address their employee’s drug use and its impact on the workplace as thirty-three (33) states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that legalize marijuana in some form. This is particularly difficult with EMS and public safety employers. Generally, most EMS and public safety employers prohibit employee use of marijuana and other drugs because they are federal contractors and are subject to the Drug Free Workplace Act. Other employers prohibit employee drug use because EMS personnel perform “safety sensitive” positions as defined under the Department of Transportation Regulations. However, those employers who are not subject to the Drug Free Workplace Act must be sensitive to this law for those employees that do not perform safety sensitive functions. Employees in those non-safety sensitive positions, such as administrative duties, may be protected by laws like the law that was just passed in Nevada.
It is critical that employers understand their rights and responsibilities as it applies to drug testing and workplace drug use. The American Ambulance Association can assist member companies who are struggling to make sense of this new law and what they can do to control drug use in their workplace. The AAA held numerous EMS Supervisor SimLabs last year which put EMS Supervisors and Managers through the paces of conducting an investigation of a Sexual Harassment allegation. We are excited to announce that we are adding to the SimLab offerings with a new workshop specifically geared for Workplace Drug Use & Reasonable Suspicion in EMS. To learn more about this, or any EMS Supervisor SimLab, please contact the AAA.