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Drug-Free Workplace Policy and Program Template

Louisiana Drug Testing Laws and Regulations

State: Louisiana
Statute of Order: La. Rev. Stat. §49:1001 et seq., §23:1601(1), §46:460.4
Covered Employers: Public and private employers not subject to a federally mandated testing program.
Applicant Testing: Applicant testing not restricted.
Employee Testing: Employee testing authorized, but employer may not discharge an employee on the basis of first-time positive test findings. Employees who are discharged for drug use, on or off the job, may be disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation. Employees of state contractors are subject to random testing. Those who are employed under safety-sensitive positions are required to undergo drug testing. These positions are those that entail safety inspection of a building or structure; those that have access to correctional facilities and inmates; those that carry firearms; those who have access to controlled drugs and substances; those who handle, transport and inspect hazardous waste materials; and those who handle power plant equipments, heavy machineries and public vehicles. Student employees and student interns, temporary and part-time employees may be subjected to drug testing.
Conditions & Methods: Methods to assure privacy for employee in collection of specimen, but a witness may be present in case of post- accident testing and testing performed on suspicion of substance abuse, or when there is reason to doubt the integrity of the specimen. Confirming test using different testing method after positive result.
Important Bulletpoints:
  • There exists an Executive Order in Louisiana enumerating a State Employee Drug Testing Policy. Public employers must publish a written policy for pre-employment and employment drug testing compliant to the Order. Allowed tests include reasonable suspicion, post accident, random testing as part of post rehabilitation monitoring, pre-employment, and random as well as pre-promotion to safety sensitive and security sensitive positions.
  • Costs of drug testing are explicitly identified by law as payable by the employer. However, there is a provision that allows employers the option to require a new employee to sign a contract that would withhold the actual cost of pre-employment drug testing from the employee’s wages if the employee resigns within 90 days from his first day of work.
  • School bus drivers are required to undergo controlled substance testing in the State of Louisiana.
  • A public elementary or secondary school bus operator who tests positive for substance abuse is prohibited from driving a school bus, activity bus or any activity that entails transporting students until concerned government authority indicates so.
  • All confirmatory tests must be done by a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) or College of American Pathologists (CAP) certified laboratory equipped for forensic urine drug testing.
  • It is not a requirement but employers may opt to provide employees who are tested positive for drug use and certified positive by a medical review officer to undergo a rehabilitation program without being terminated.
  • Employees who test positive for on or off-the-job drug use constitutes misconduct. An employee discharge due to misconduct may be denied full benefits.
  • In case there is no written policy in full compliance with the provisions of R.S.49:1001 et seq, drug testing of an employee or job applicant is not permitted.
  • Compliant employers may be eligible for a tax credit equal to 5% of the qualified treatment expenses of the employer for substance abuse treatment services.
Medical Marijuana Law:

Senate Bill 271 was signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards on May 19, 2016. It allowed doctors to "recommend" medical marijuana for patients suffering from certain medical conditions. A prior bill in 2015 used the word "prescribe" which was against federal law.

Senate Bill 180 was signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards on June 2, 2016. It closed the loophole with SB 271, but only offered protection against prosecution for patients who possess marijuana for the treatment of their medical condition. SB 180 still did not legalize the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, which meant that patients still don't have legal access to it.

Qualifying Medical Conditions

• Cancer

• HIV/AIDS

• Cachexia or wasting syndrome

• Seizure disorders

• epilepsy

• Spasticity

• Muscular dystrophy

• Crohn's disease

• Multiple sclerosis

Limitations

• No smokable forms of marijuana are allowed.

• No home cultivation is allowed.

• Both bills did not establish a legal source for marijuana.

• Both bills did not provide protection against prosecution for growers and distributors.

• Physicians risk legal problems by being required to specify dosage and amounts of medical marijuana for their patients.

Effects on Workplace Drug Testing

The State's medical marijuana laws are still considered by some to be somewhat limited, and there are no clear provisions that explicitly "instruct" employers on how to handle employees who are also qualified medical marijuana patients. This is perhaps the most sensitive aspect of the testing dilemma that both employees and employers face. How are employees to be treated if they test positive for THC metabolites in a post-accident drug test? Unless more significant legislation happens in relation to the medical marijuana law, there would likely be no immediate protections for medical marijuana users who figure in a workplace accident. Employers may choose to be guided by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which more often than not is used as one of the guidelines when setting up a drug-free workplace policy specifically with provisions for addressing employee marijuana use while at work or reporting for work while under the influence. Existing drug test programs (if any) remain in effect in the interest of maintaining employee performance, safety and productivity.

Sources:

http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002481#kentucky

http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/sourcefiles/louisiana-sb271-enacted.pdf

For Further Reading:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/louisiana-drug-testing-laws.html

http://alwaystestclean.com/louisiana-drug-laws/

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Material on these pages (state drug testing laws and drug testing regulations) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, medical or technical advice. This drug testing related information is not intended as substitute for obtaining legal advice from attorney, or a relevant medical technical or financial professional. TestCountry is not a law firm or a legal agency, therefore cannot guarantee the accuracy of this content. Drug testing laws are collected from legal and/or state sources, and it may or may not be valid by the time you are viewing it. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Confirm Biosciences Inc. DBA TestCountry.

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