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New Jersey - STATE LAWS

Workplace Drug Testing Issues – New Jersey State Laws

These categories do not effect DOT-regulated drug testing. Government employers should always call for potential additional restrictions on employee drug testing.

New Jersey employers should only conduct post-accident drug testing only when they believe the individual caused or contributed to the accident.

March 2019 -  a disabled employee may sue his former employer under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) for alleged discrimination based on the employee’s use of medical marijuana. Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., et al., Docket No. A-3072-17T3 (N.J. App. Div. Mar. 27, 2019).

Update July 2019 - Medical marijuana law amended to clarify applicant and employee protections:

  • Employers are prohibited from taking any “adverse employment action” against a “registered qualifying patient” based solely on the person’s status as a registered patient. An “adverse employment action” is defined to mean “refusing to hire or employ an individual, barring or discharging an individual from employment, requiring an individual to retire from employment, or discriminating against an individual in compensation or in any terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.”
  • Employers must provide applicants or employees who test positive for cannabis written notice of their right to explain and their right to provide a “legitimate medical explanation” for the positive test result. The employee has three working days to provide such information, which can include evidence that a health care practitioner has authorized the use of medical cannabis, proof that the applicant or employee is a registered patient, or both. Or, within that same three-day timeframe, the applicant or employee can request a confirmatory retest of the original sample at their own expense.

Workplace Drug Testing Laws in New Jersey

Instant or POCT Testing

Restricted

Testing location may need to be licensed through the state as a laboratory. Both Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp perform instant testing at their drug testing centers.

Drug Panels

No restrictions

Laboratory

Licensing required

SAMHSA certification recommended

Medical Review Officer

Not required

Highly recommended

Random Testing

Restricted

Safety sensitive employees when a legitimate business necessity exists.

Post-Accident

Limited

Drug testing policies should limit post-incident testing to situations in which there is reasonable suspicion of employee drug or alcohol use.

Reasonable Suspicion

Permitted

Document reasonable suspicion

Oral Fluids

No restrictions

Hair Testing

No restrictions

Unemployment Denial

Yes

Must have a DFW policy

Workers Comp Discount

No

Intoxication Defense

Yes

The defense of willful misconduct or negligence.

Medical Marijuana

Yes

Senate Bill 119 (48-14 H; 25-13 S), no requirement for an employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any workplace. July 2019 amendment clarifies applicant and employee protections, see above.

Recreational Marijuana

No

Report Driver DOT Positives

No

General Statute

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

Based on case law, a comprehensive written drug-free workplace policy is critically important.

Intoxication Defense – Denial of Workers Compensation Claim –  The proof necessary to establish that the intoxication is the sole and proximate cause of the injury makes the defense extremely somewhat hard to establish. The same standard applies to alcohol intoxication and/or illegal drug use. What is important is that everything is documented including witness statements.

This chart is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal guidance. State and local law vary greatly; therefore, you are advised to consult experienced legal counsel during the development or edit of your actual substance abuse testing program and with any questions that follow.

State Law New Jersey