Special Announcement to all Rhode Island employers :
The State of Rhode Island has passed a law that limits employers from testing for marijuana (THC). This law was signed by the governor on 05/25/22 and will become effective immediately.
The law makes the following an unlawful discriminatory practice:
21-28.11-29. Prohibited activities.
(d) Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to require employers to
accommodate the use or possession of cannabis, or being under the influence of cannabis, in any workplace or the use of cannabis in any other location while an employee is performing work, including remote work. Employers may implement drug use policies which prohibit the use or possession of cannabis in the workplace or while performing work from being under the influence of cannabis, provided that unless such use is prohibited pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, an employer shall not fire or take disciplinary action against an employee solely for an employee’s private, lawful use of cannabis outside the workplace and as long as the employee has not and is not working under the influence of cannabis except to the extent that:
(1) The employer is a federal contractor or otherwise subject to federal law or regulations such that failure to take such action would cause the employer to lose a monetary or licensing related benefit thereunder; or
(2) The employee is employed in a job, occupation or profession that is hazardous, dangerous or essential to public welfare and safety. If the employee’s job, occupation or profession involves work that is hazardous, dangerous or essential to public welfare and safety then the employer may adopt and implement policies which prohibit the use or consumption of cannabis within the twenty-four (24) hour period prior to a scheduled work shift or assignment. For purposes
of this section, hazardous, dangerous or essential to public welfare and safety shall include, but not be limited to: operation of an aircraft, watercraft, heavy equipment, heavy machinery, commercial vehicles, school buses or public transportation; use of explosives; public safety first responder jobs; and emergency and surgical medical personnel.
(e) Nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s violation of a workplace drug policy or because that person was working while under the influence of cannabis.
This law will require a review of the hiring process in place and may require changes to that process.
Justifacts recommends that you consult with your legal department to determine what changes, if any, need to be made to your hiring process in order to comply with this law.
The complete text of the legislation can be found here:
It is important to note that Justifacts is providing this information as a service to our clients. None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor is Justifacts engaged to provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult your attorney or legal department if you want assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.