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Illinois State Laws

Workplace Drug Testing Issues – Illinois State Laws

Illinois requires employers on State public works projects to maintain a drug-free workplace.  

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

Update on Illinois and Recreational Marijuana

Illinois HB 1438

  • Legalizes recreational marijuanaeffective January 1, 2020 for those ages 21 and older 
  • Employers are not required to permit employee use of marijuana while at work, while performing job duties, or while on call
  • Requires certain changes to drug-free workplace policies and procedures:
    • Employers can have policies addressing drug testing, smoking marijuana, marijuana storage, etc., provided that the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner
    • Employers are not required to accommodate employees being under the influence or the use of marijuana in the workplace
    • Employers must have “good faith belief” that an employee is under the influence – can be established using specific, articulable symptoms, but not strictly a drug test
  • Employers should use a positive drug test for marijuana in conjunction with specific signs and symptoms of impairmentbefore taking action
  • Employers cannot take actionbased on the use of lawful products (marijuana) outside of work hours
  • Defers to federal, state, and local restrictions on employment, such as Part 40

See our comprehensive State by State guide – Marijuana Considerations & Laws by State

Workplace Drug Testing Laws in Illinois

Drug Testing Issue Status Comments
Instant or POCT Testing Restrictions Not allowed for employers on public works projects.
Drug Panels Restrictions For employers on public works projects, at a minimum, must use a 9 panel urine drug test.
Laboratory License For confirmation testing, SAMHSA or CAP approved.
MRO Required Not Required Use of MRO highly recommended to avoid liability in your drug testing program. Also should be used for employers on public works projects.
Random Testing No Restrictions Required for employers on public works projects .
Post-Accident No Restrictions Required for employers on public works projects.
Reasonable Suspicion No Restrictions Required for employers on public works projects.
Oral Fluids Restrictions For employers on public works projects, urine required.
Hair Testing Restrictions For employers on public works projects, urine required.
Unemployment Denial Yes, address in company policy An individual is disqualified for benefits if the individual was discharged for misconduct connected with the individual's last work. State in your drug free workplace policy that a refusal to test or a positive test is misconduct. Terminate employment for misconduct.
Workers Comp Discount No
Intoxication Defense Yes, available If you test positive for drugs or alcohol you are denied your workers compensation benefits. DOT like testing must be followed. EMPLOYMENT (820 ILCS 305/) Workers' Compensation Act.rnrn
Medical Marijuana Yes Employers may not discriminate due to a patient status but the law specifically allows employer to drug test and discipline for violations.
Recreational Marijuana No
Report Driver DOT Positives No
General Statute This state has no known statutes restricting workplace drug or alcohol testing. A separate law in Illinois exists that mandates and regulates drug testing by public works employers.

Intoxication Defense - States vary in their willingness to allow employers to use an injured worker's intoxication as a defense against a claim for compensation.  State 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; and defenses that require that intoxication be the sole cause of injury.  Always check with your insurance company and your attorney when you have a positive post-accident test after an injury.

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

State Law Illinois

EMPLOYMENT (820 ILCS 305/) Workers' Compensation Act.