After I-502: Be Consistent in Policy Enforcement

by Mandi Kime AGC Safety Director

In early January AGC hosted a Safety Forum on the topic of drug testing now that Initiative 502 (legalization of marijuana) has passed. With representatives from WCISAP Ahlers & Cressman PLLC and an Employee Assistance Program we discussed the impacts of this Initiative.

Bottom line: Employers still have the legal right to test their employees for drugs. Some basic information from the meeting:

  • While marijuana possession (small quantity) is no longer illegal in this state there is no legal way to purchase it.
  • According to an 8 to 1 Supreme Court Decision (Roe v. Teletech) it is still legal for employers to test their employees for drugs (including marijuana)
  • You want to make sure that your program is in line with the confirmation cutoff levels referred to in Federal Statutes (national standards). It is always safest to follow national standards in issues like this.
  • In order to avoid issues with your testing program:
  •           o Use a TPA (Third Party Administrator such as WCISAP) or submit your testing policy to the affected Unions prior to implementation.
  •           o ALWAYS be consistent in enforcement of the policies you have and always follow the policy as you have it documented.
  •           o Reference “Under the Influence” rather than impairment or inebriation. Under the Influence is a measurable term that relates to how much of a substance is in the blood stream. Impairment is subjective.

For a sample drug testing program contact AGC Labor Relations Director Doug Peterson at 206-284-0061. For more information about safety-related issues contact Mandi Kime AGC Safety Director 206-284-0061.