Connecticut Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Connecticut Drug Testing Laws 2024

In Connecticut, employers in the private sector are not mandated by state law to require drug tests of prospective, current, or former workers per CGS §§ 31-51t to 31-51aa. However, a drug test may be required as part of a job application process if the applicant was informed beforehand of the employer’s intention to administer a drug test at the time of application. On the other hand, drug testing of current employees is prohibited by Connecticut law unless the employer has a good reason to believe that the worker is impaired by drugs, which may negatively impact the worker's performance on the job.

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which prohibits the government from conducting irrational searches, places restrictions on public employers. State and local personnel are exempt from the state's drug testing regulations except for safety-related jobs. To this end, an employer is not permitted to punish or sanction an employee without a documented policy that expressly prohibits off-duty cannabis use at the time of employing them.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Connecticut?

Connecticut allows testing of employees for all controlled substances, including cocaine, marijuana, amphetamine, dopamine, phencyclidine, and opiates. Drug tests for marijuana in the state are often conducted to detect the presence of THC metabolites. Notably, the metabolites can stay in the body for up to 30 days after using marijuana. There are limitations on the methods and procedures for drug testing under Connecticut law. Only drug testing by urine is permitted for workplace drug tests in Connecticut. Others, such as breathalyzer, hair analyses, and blood tests are not allowed.

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Connecticut?

No. Random drug testing is not permitted for employers in Connecticut unless the state labor commissioner has classified the job as high-risk or safety-sensitive. Generally, an employee may only submit to random drug tests if authorized by federal law or the employee willingly participates in an employee assistance program provided or approved by their employer, which includes the administration of the test.

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

In Connecticut, an employer cannot take any adverse action against an employer or job applicant based solely on a positive test result unless any of the following situations holds true:

  • Employing the worker would breach a federal contract or jeopardize federal funding for the employer
  • The employer made a conditional job offer and had a written policy in place specifying that the offer might be revoked in the event of a positive THC result

Employers who break any part of the drug testing legislation may be held accountable for both monetary and non-monetary losses. However, a positive drug test result can be used to decide whether to promote, increase compensation, transfer, terminate, or take other personnel action on an employee per Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 557, Section 31-51u.

Can I Be Fired for Refusing a Drug Test in Connecticut?

Yes. Employees who refuse to submit to drug tests are handled as though they failed and risk termination. If an employee has a good cause for declining to take the drug test, they can challenge their employer’s decision. Several justifications exist for refusing to submit to a workplace drug test, including the following:

  • When an employee is able to demonstrate that their employer's request to submit to a required drug test in cases of random testing is motivated by factors that constitute employment discrimination. These situations could also be known as "selective drug testing" policies, which are typically illegal
  • When an employer refuses to make the reasonable accommodations required to conduct a drug test on an employee who is disabled and that employee has a condition covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

An employee can submit a complaint to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) if they believe they are the victim of job discrimination.

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

Connecticut's law specifically protects medical marijuana cardholders against unfavorable employment actions following workplace drug testing. No employer may refuse to hire an applicant or may fire an employee based on the applicant's or employee's status as a qualifying patient under the Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA) unless doing so is mandated by federal law.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Connecticut?

Connecticut’s law allows employers to request job applicants to submit for drug testing during the interview stage, provided a potential employee is informed of the possibility of conducting drug tests as part of the selection process. The only authorized testing technique required by federal law is urinalysis. A drug test that reveals the presence of THC (the active component in marijuana) cannot be used as grounds for an employer to reject an applicant unless:

  • It breaches federal law or puts a federal contract in jeopardy
  • The employer has a written policy stating that a positive test for THC can result in the withdrawal of an employment offer

The most frequent outcome for an employee who refuses to submit to a required drug test is that they will lose their job. Alternatively, they are unlikely to receive a job offer if they are a potential candidate for one.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Connecticut?

Connecticut employers are free to choose whether to conduct pre-employment drug tests or not. However, before resuming work, employers inform potential employees that drug testing might be required and the test must be conducted in compliance with state law.

Does Connecticut Allow Public Agencies to Submit Employees to Workplace Drug Tests?

Connecticut’s drug testing laws apply only to private employees. Except for drivers, state employees are exempt from the state's drug testing regulations. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which forbids the government from conducting irrational searches, places restrictions on public employers.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

In Connecticut, employers are allowed to establish drug-free workplace policies. The state has a Drug-Free Workplace Policy that allows employers to mandate their workplaces be drug-free in accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act. Any firm receiving government funds is required by this statute to maintain a drug-free workplace.

Employees Exempted From Connecticut Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Certain employees are exempt from the provisions of Connecticut’s drug testing law. They include federal personnel, commercial transport workers, and law enforcement agents. Also, individuals involved in tasks relating to justice, public order, social service, or the mining, utility, construction, manufacturing, medical, or other safety-related activities are exempted.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Connecticut?

Connecticut requires that drug tests be conducted only in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)-certified labs. The Department of Consumer Protection, Drug Control Division, oversees licensing for labs in the state.

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