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Massachusetts State Laws

Workplace Drug Testing Issues – Massachusetts State Laws

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

Deny Unemployment claims – Chapter 151A Section 25

Workplace Drug Testing Laws in Massachusetts

Drug Testing Issue Status Comments
Instant or POCT Testing No restrictions
Drug Panels No restrictions
Laboratory No restrictions
Random Testing Restricted Limit to safety sensitive or security sensitive position.
Post-Accident Restrictions Massachusetts employers should only conduct post accident drug testing only when they believe the individual caused or contributed to the accident.
Reasonable Suspicion No restrictions
Oral Fluids No restrictions
Hair Testing No restrictions
Unemployment Denial Yes Chapter 151A Section 25 - Disqualification of benefits when the employee discharged for deliberate misconduct consisting of: (i) stealing from such employee's place of employment; (ii) illegal drug use while at work; or (iii) drunkenness while at work shall be determined to be ineligible for benefits without regard to whether or not the employer had a written policy against such conduct.
Workers Comp Discount No
Intoxication Defense Maybe No current statute or case law addressing Workers' Compensation/Denial after a positive drug or alcohol test after an accident.
Medical Marijuana Yes Nothing in the law requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of employment.
Recreational Marijuana Yes Passed November 2016, the law does not affect employeru2019s rights to enact and enforce workplace policies restricting the consumption of marijuana by employees.
Report Driver DOT Positives No
General Statute Massachusetts legislation does not address drug testing in private employment. Case law limits random testing - the validity of an employeru2019s policy of random drug testing had to be weighed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the employeeu2019s job responsibilities and the employeru2019s interests.

Regarding medical marijuana, Massachusetts is a state with explicit employee protection:

  • there is nothing in this law requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of employment; (law silent on off-duty use) 
  • no punishment under state law for qualifying patients;” provides “protection from state prosecution and penalties
  • any person meeting the requirements under this law shall not be penalized under Massachusetts law in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for such actions

Intoxication Defense – Denial of Workers Compensation Claim - 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 Massachusetts