Understanding Maine's New Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Maine Drug Testing Law

Maine has strict laws and regulations governing workplace drug testing to ensure a safe and fair working environment for all employees. On November 1, 2023, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services amended its Substance Use Testing For The Workplace Rule, significantly changing drug testing programs and laboratory procedures.

One significant rule restricts cannabis testing to the detection of the active drug component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This presents a focus on testing for psychoactive effects rather than the mere presence of cannabis metabolites.

Amendments also include:

· Revised collection requirements for hair samples.

· The addition of new drugs such as Fentanyl.

· Adjustments to cut-off levels for various substances.

Employers operating in Maine must adhere to the state's drug testing legislation, which mandates compliance with their specific requirements. Additionally, employers wishing to implement drug testing programs must develop a drug-free workplace policy approved by the Maine Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Standards.

Key Aspects of Maine's Drug Testing Laws:

· Workers' Compensation: Maine law permits the denial of workers' compensation if an employee tests positive for controlled substances following a workplace accident and it is determined that intoxication contributed to the incident. Maine’s laws’ intoxication defenses generally fall into one of three rough categories:

  • Defenses that do not depend on causation.
  • Defenses that require some form of proximate causation between intoxication and injury.
  • Defenses that require that intoxication be the sole cause of injury.
  • Always check with your insurance company and attorney when you have a refusal or positive post-accident test after an injury.

· Instant or POCT Testing: While Maine allows using FDA-approved Point of Care Testing (POCT) devices, directly administering urine drug tests is prohibited. Tests must be conducted in a medical facility under proper supervision (this can include a first aid station located at the work site).

· Random Testing: Employers can only conduct random drug testing if it is included in their approved drug-free workplace policy.

· Specimens and Substances Screened: Urine and blood specimens may be collected for drug testing, with screenings typically covering a range of substances, including amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, opioids, and alcohol.

· Recreational and Medical Marijuana: Maine legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, prohibiting employers from drug testing applicants for marijuana use or refusing employment based on marijuana consumption outside the workplace. Exceptions apply for safety-sensitive positions.

· Alcohol Testing: Like drug testing, alcohol testing requires implementing a workplace policy approved by the Maine Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Standards.

· DOT Covered Employees: Federally covered employees are required by law to comply with federal laws/DOT requirements that supersede Maine drug testing laws.

Maine's workplace drug testing laws are comprehensive and designed to balance employee rights with employer responsibilities for maintaining a safe and productive work environment. In this evolving industry, staying informed is crucial for employers aiming to strike the right balance between compliance and effective pre-employment screening.

Related Articles: 

· Top Drug Testing Companies

· Cannabis and Workplace Drug Testing - Common Misconceptions

· The Difference Between Instant Vs. Lab-Based Drug Testing

About DISA Global Solutions

Founded in 1986, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout North America and Europe, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background screening, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.

DISA Global Solutions aims to provide accurate and informative content for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein. Always consult with a professional or legal expert.