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Massachusetts Drug Testing Compliance

Capital Boston Population 6,811,779
Largest city Boston
Area 10,565 sq mi
Criminal rate 38 crimes /10,000 people Time Zone UTC −5/−4

Massachusetts Employee Background Check Laws

Massachusetts

Legal status for workplace drug screening and alcohol testing

Our intent is to make Massachusetts drug screening compliance as simple as possible. You don’t have to be a constitutional law scholar to conduct workplace drug testing in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts is a “mandatory” state, which means any private employer wishing to conduct drug and/or alcohol testing of non-regulated employees within this state must do so according to the Constitution, statutes, regulations, and court decisions that apply.

The rules in Massachusetts do not derive from a statute specifically directed at limiting workplace drug testing. No such statute exists in Massachusetts. Instead, Massachusetts’s rules stem from related court decisions.

This overview is to introduce you to the nature and history of the state’s workplace drug testing rules and to provide a basic understanding of the compliance issues you may face when testing in Massachusetts.

Drug Testing Overview Marijuana Court Decisions

Employer Action:
Q1: Are there any state limitations for workplace drug screening policies?
A: A written policy is recommended. It shifts the burden to the employee to prove that the individual didn't know the company rules.
Q2: Please choose a reason for drug and alcohol testing:
No
No
No (but must have facts)
Yes - Review OSHA new ruling
Limits
No
No
Q3: Are there any state requirements for test methods?
A: No restrictions. However, it is recommended that random testing be limited to safety-sensitive workers per privacy and case law.
Q4: Are there any state requirements or limitation for drugs you can test for?
A: No restrictions.
Q5: Are there any state requirements or limitations for specific notice of result?
A: No restrictions.
Q6: Is it required to use a Certified Laboratory?
A: No restrictions. However, we strongly encourage utilizing a certified laboratory for drug testing.
Q7: What types of specimens can we test for?
A: No restrictions
Q8: Are there restrictions for Alcohol Testing?
A: Alcohol testing is permitted.

Did you know?

Q1. Can I request an observed drug test for my employees in Massachusetts?

Answer is “No”

Observed collection of a sample should not take place due to court case Webster VS Motorola, Inc.
418 Mass. 425, 637 N.E. 2d 203 (1994)

 Correct!

Massachusetts Drug & Alcohol Testing Laws

In 1994, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts addressed the question of private workplace drug testing. The Court balanced the interests of the parties and, based upon the nature of the job responsibilities of the two employees involved, ruled in favor of one employee but not the other. The Court made it clear that employers in Massachusetts do not have unlimited ability to interfere with the privacy interests of their employees when it comes to random drug testing.

 

ABBREVIATIONS
  • American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
  • Blood Alcohol concentration (BAC)
  • Breath Alcohol Test (BAT)
  • Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)
  • College of American Pathologists (CAP)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Forensic Urine Drug Testing (FUDT)
  • Medical Review officer (MRO)
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)

Update: November 2017

Disclaimer

This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.

All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.

Massachusetts Marijuana Employer Guidelines

“Recreational vs. personal” use of marijuana: We recognize that a majority of the country uses the term “recreational use” when referring to states that have legalized possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana for those over 21.

Massachusetts personal and medical use of marijuana.

Medical Use: On November 6, 2012 Ballot Question 3 known as the Act for The Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana was approved by 63% of those voting. The law went into effect January 1, 2013 and is codified at St. 2012, c. 369.

The voter initiative and enabling law (M.G.L. Chapter 369, Sec. 7, D) do not specify restrictions for employers, but they do state:  Nothing in this law requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of employment, school bus, or on school grounds, in any youth center, in any correctional facility, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.

Personal Use: On November 8, 2016 Question 4, the Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative passed with a margin of 53.57%. Legalization took effect December 15, 2016. Under the new law, individuals that are at least 21 years old can use, grow, and possess marijuana. The measure stipulated that individuals could possess less than ten ounces of marijuana inside their homes and under one ounce in public. Individuals can also grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes.

For more information regarding marijuana at work, refer to Info Cubic’s Drug Screening compliance corner.

Update: November 2017

Disclaimer

This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.

All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.

KEY COURT DECISIONS
Court Case Issue Outcome Employer Limitation/ Action

James Webster and Michael Joyce VS Motorola Communications.

  1. Testing policy violated their right to privacy.
  2. Interests must be balanced.

The court concluded in balance Motorola’s legitimate business interest outweighed the privacy rights of Webster.

The Court concluded that Motorola’s interests outweighed those of Mr. Joyce as he was a technical editor and presented no threat to safety.

The Motorola case and those upon which it relied showed the need to balance the rights of employees against those of the employer and recommend to have that developed in the beginning of your company policy.

Update: November 2017

TO PAGETOP