Massachusetts State Drug Testing Laws

Workplace Drug Testing Issues – Massachusetts State Laws

These categories do not effect DOT-regulated drug testing.  In Massachusetts there are generally no state laws restricting drug testing. The state does have some privacy laws that could impact drug testing. For employees, any drug test must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. For Non-DOT employers, marijuana can be removed from the drug testing panel if this is the decision of the employer.

Random drug testing should be limited to safety sensitive positions. Courts have upheld employee drug testing when there are safety-sensitive issues and when there is reasonable suspicion.

Drug Testing IssueStatusComments
Instant or POCT Testing No Restrictions
Drug PanelsNo Restrictions
LaboratoryNo Restrictions
Random TestingRestrictedLimit to safety sensitive or security sensitive position.
Post-Accident RestrictionsMassachusetts employers should only conduct post accident drug testing only when they believe the individual caused or contributed to the accident.
Reasonable SuspicionNo Restrictions
Oral FluidsNo Restrictions
Hair TestingNo Restrictions
Unemployment DenialYesChapter 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 DiscountNo
Intoxication DefenseMaybeNo current statute or case law addressing Workers' Compensation/Denial after a positive drug or alcohol test after an accident. List drug free workplace violations as misconduct.te
Medical MarijuanaYesNothing in the law requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of employment.
Recreational MarijuanaYesThe law does not require employers to accommodate
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 employer's policy of random drug testing had to be weighed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the employee's job responsibilities and the employer's interests.

Medical and Recreational Marijuana in Massachusetts

Massachusetts statutes authorize medical and recreational cannabis (marijuana). For employees using marijuana under the medical marijuana laws off duty, the employer must drug test must be job-related and consistent with business necessity.

Use of marijuana in the workplace is always prohibited.

For employees using recreationally, the law does not require employers to accommodate recreational marijuana use. Employers should address this topic in their company policy.  The employer policy decision could allow the company to take adverse action against an employee who uses cannabis recreationally, even on his or her own time.

Intoxication Defense

Regarding the intoxication defense and workers compensation claims denials, the Massachusetts law makes no mention of intoxication or drug use. The law does mention misconduct so any drug testing policy should list a violation as misconduct. When there is willful misconduct, the law says the employee after injury shall not receive compensation. The law also says this provision shall not exclude compensation to the employees’ dependents if the injury result in death.

There is no specific state program in Massachusetts for a worker’s compensation premium discount for the implementation of a drug free workplace.

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


Drug Testing in Massachusetts

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Marijuana Laws for Massachusetts

Marijuana considerations are important and marijuana laws often update often, check out Marijuana in the Workplace.