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Philadelphia Prohibits Pre-Employment Drug Testing for Marijuana

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On April 28, 2021, Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, PA, signed (the Ordinance) into law, effectively prohibiting pre-employment marijuana testing within city limits. The Ordinance does include a “safety-sensitive” carve-out for applicants to specific conditions, including:

(a) Police officer or other law enforcement positions.

 (b) Any position requiring a commercial driver’s license.

 (c) Any position requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients, disabled or other vulnerable individuals.

(d) Any position in which the employee could significantly impact the health or safety of other employees or members of the public, as determined by the enforcement agency and set forth in regulations pursuant to this Chapter.

The prohibition of Section 9-4702(1) shall not apply to drug testing required pursuant to:

(a) Any federal or state statute, regulation, or order that requires drug testing of prospective employees for purposes of safety or security.

(b) Any contract between the federal government and an employer or any grant of financial assistance from the federal government to an employer that requires drug testing of prospective employees as a condition of receiving the contract or grant; or

(c) Any applicants whose prospective employer is a party to a valid collective bargaining agreement that specifically addresses the pre-employment drug testing of such applicants

Philadelphia employers are required to comply with the Ordinance as of January 1, 2022.

How Does this Impact Employers?

The Ordinance amends Philadelphia City Code to make it an “unlawful employment practice” for an employer, labor organization, or employment agency to require an applicant to submit to drug testing to determine the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment.

The Safety-Sensitive Carve-Outs

The Ordinance includes “safety-sensitive” carve-outs for employers. Individuals seeking employment in the following jobs or professions are not subject to the Ordinance:

  • Police officers/law enforcement positions;
  • Positions requiring a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL);
  • Positions requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients, the disabled, or vulnerable individuals; and
  • Positions where the employee could “significantly impact” the health or safety of other employees or the public. Such positions shall be determined by the enforcement agency and set forth in regulations.

When Doesn’t the Ordinance Apply?

The Ordinance doesn’t apply when an employer is required to perform drug testing by a federal or state statute/regulation/order that requires applicant drug testing for safety or security purposes. The Ordinance does not apply if the employer is subject to a contract between the federal government and an employer, or a grant of assistance from the government, that requires drug testing of prospective employees as a condition of the contract or grant. Additionally, the Ordinance does not apply to applicants whose employer is party to a collective bargaining agreement that specifically addresses pre-employment drug testing.

Accessing the Ordinance

The direct link is as follows: file:///C:/Users/choward/Downloads/CertifiedCopy20062501.pdf

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