North Dakota Drug Testing Laws 2024

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North Dakota Drug Testing Laws 2024

North Dakota does not have a comprehensive law explicitly governing workplace drug testing. This grants employers significant autonomy in crafting their own policies, allowing them to implement pre-employment, random, or post-accident testing at their discretion as long as their testing protocols comply with applicable state and federal laws. The only restriction on drug testing in the workplace concerns payment for drug testing. If an employer requires a drug test to retain or obtain employment, the employer must pay for the test.

While off-duty use of cannabis remains legal in the state, employers retain the right to maintain zero-tolerance policies, meaning even detectable levels of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites could lead to disciplinary action, including termination. However, the state provides no explicit protections for employees based solely on their medical marijuana use or positive drug test results.

Since North Dakota is considered an employment-at-will state, employers can terminate employees for failing drug tests, provided the process taken to arrive at the result is not illegal or discriminatory. Even if you have a medical marijuana card, you may be fired for failing a drug test.

Note that the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects qualified citizens with disabilities from discrimination in employment. This includes ensuring reasonable accommodations are provided as long as they do not pose undue hardship to the employer. Under the ADA, the use of a prescribed drug to treat a disability is protected, provided that the employee can still perform the required tasks of their job.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, employers are legally allowed to conduct drug tests for a variety of illegal substances, including cocaine, marijuana, phencyclidine, methadone, methamphetamine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, propoxyphene, methaqualone, and opioids and opiates such as oxycodone, morphine, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and codeine.

There are no restrictions on the kind of testing that may be conducted. Therefore, employers conduct a wide range of tests, including:

  • Pre-Employment Testing: Pre-employment tests may be done as part of the interview state or at any point before an employer is included in a company's payroll
  • Reasonable Suspicion Testing: Employers can perform drug tests based on reasonable suspicion of drug use. If an employer suspects that an employee is working while under the influence of a banned substance, such as marijuana, the employee may be asked to undergo drug testing
  • Post-Accident Testing: After workplace accidents, employers may conduct drug tests to verify whether workplace accidents occurred due to drug use
  • Random Test: This is more common in safety-sensitive job positions, such as those related to transportation, law enforcement, and healthcare. Random drug testing is a process where employees are selected for drug testing without prior notice or indication of suspicion. It is often implemented in workplaces aiming to promote a drug-free environment and deter drug use among employees

An employer may request an employee's urine, blood, saliva, or hair samples for drug testing in the laboratory. Usually, the urine test is most frequently used for marijuana drug testing. Blood tests can detect recent marijuana use, but they are less common due to the shorter detection window.

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in North Dakota?

Yes, employers in North Dakota can conduct random drug testing. North Dakota does not have a specific law prohibiting or restricting random drug testing. Therefore, employers have the discretion to implement random drug testing policies as part of their drug testing programs.

In the absence of specific state laws regulating notification, many North Dakota employers establish clear and comprehensive drug testing policies, including information about the possibility of random drug testing. While the state does not explicitly require employers to notify employees before testing, in order to provide for a transparent or fair process, employees, especially those in safety-sensitive jobs, are notified of the possibility of random drug testing.

What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test in North Dakota for a Job?

Your application may be denied if you fail a drug test for an illegal substance in North Dakota. If you are already an employee, you may also be terminated if the employer’s drug policy recommends termination for failing a drug test.

Can I Be Fired for Refusing a Drug Test in North Dakota?

Yes, you may be fired for refusing a drug test in North Dakota. Since the state leaves drug testing regulations to employers as long as they align with federal provisions, you may be terminated for refusing to submit to a non-discriminatory drug test.

Can You Get Fired for Failing a Drug Test with a Medical Card in North Dakota?

Unlike states like Illinois or New York, North Dakota does not have a law explicitly prohibiting employers from firing or taking adverse actions against employees for their medical marijuana use, even if they have a valid card. Therefore, an employer may fire you if you fail a drug test even though you have a medical marijuana card.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in North Dakota?

The state places no restrictions on employees with policies requiring applicants to submit to drug testing. So, if an employer wants to conduct drug tests on an applicant, they can legally do so. However, per Section 34-01-15 of the North Dakota Code, the employer must pay for the test if an employer requests drug testing. If you fail a drug test, you can be penalized as indicated under the employer's workplace drug use or testing policy. While the state does not mandate employers to notify applicants of potential drug tests, many employers in North Dakota inform their applicants before any drug tests. Applicants who refuse to participate in drug tests may have their applications rejected.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in North Dakota?

There are no North Dakota pre-employment drug laws. Although pre-employment drug testing is not mandatory in North Dakota, employers can legally make employment offers contingent upon completing a pre-employment drug test. Pre-employment tests may not be based on the suspicion of drug use but on a need to minimize the risk of injuries and accidents caused by employees who are under the influence of illegal substances.

Does North Dakota Allow Public Agencies to Submit Employees to Workplace Drug Tests?

North Dakota public agencies generally subject their employees to workplace drug tests, such as reasonable suspicion tests if employees are suspected to be impaired from drug use while in the workplace environment.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Since there are no known North Dakota statutes or regulations relating to drug testing, employers are free to draft any policy they wish to keep workplace environments safe within the limits of applicable federal rules.

Employees Exempted From North Dakota Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Since there are no specific North Dakota workplace drug testing laws, employees are bound by the workplace drug testing policies enforced by their employees. Typically, federal employees and commercial transport workers are required to operate under federal laws. Hence, they are subject to federal workplace drug testing laws.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in North Dakota?

There are no requirements for drug testing laboratories stipulated under North Dakota laws. However, North Dakota employers typically use laboratories certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). The stringent protocols and regulations followed by SAMHSA-approved labs minimize the possibility of human error or mishandling of samples, leading to more trustworthy results.

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