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New Philadelphia Ordinance Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

December 23, 2021

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, a new Philadelphia ordinance will prohibit employers from requiring that prospective employees undergo pre-employment marijuana testing as a condition of employment.

The ordinance, titled “Prohibition on Testing for Marijuana as a Condition for Employment,” Phila. Code § 9-5500, et seq., applies to any Philadelphia “employer, labor organization, and employment agency or agent thereof.” However, the ordinance focuses only on prospective employees and does not impact an employer’s ability to screen current employees for the presence of marijuana.

There are several enumerated exceptions to the blanket ban on pre-hire marijuana screening, including certain categories of job positions such as:

  • Police officers or other law enforcement positions;
  • Positions that require a commercial driver’s license;
  • Positions that require the supervision or care of children, medical patients, disabled or other vulnerable individuals; and
  • Positions in which the employee could significantly impact the health or safety of other employees or members of the public, as determined by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

Lastly, the ordinance will not apply where (1) drug testing is required by a federal or state statute, regulation, or order; (2) contracts or grants of financial assistance between an employer and the federal government require drug testing; or (3) pre-employment drug testing is specifically addressed by a valid collective bargaining agreement.

In light of this ordinance, Philadelphia employers should consider reviewing any pre-employment drug testing policies before Jan. 1, 2022. Please don’t hesitate to contact your Clark Hill labor and employment attorney for assistance with specific questions about what is best for your business in light of this new ordinance.

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