Rhode Island State Drug Testing Laws

Workplace drug testing issues – State Laws – Rhode Island

Rhode Island State law is very restrictive on drug testing.  A comprehensive policy is required.

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

Drug Testing IssueStatusComments
Instant or POCT Testing PermittedConfirmation testing, a "federally certified laboratory" is required.
Drug PanelsNo Restrictions
LaboratoryRestrictedFor confirmation testing, a "federally certified laboratory" is required.
Medical Review Officer Not RequiredHighly recommended
Random TestingRestrictedSafety-Sensitive Employees Only and Only in Certain Industries.
Post-Accident RestrictedOnly when there is reasonable suspicion of employee substance abuse or alcohol use.
Reasonable SuspicionPermittedReasonable grounds to believe an employee may be impaired "based on specific aspects of the employee's job performance and specific contemporaneous documented observations."
Oral FluidsPermitted
Hair TestingPermitted
Unemployment DenialYesDischarge for misconduct.
Workers Comp DiscountNo
Intoxication DefenseYesNo compensation for injuries occasioned by willful intent or intoxication.
Medical Marijuana YesSenate Bill 0710 (52-10 H; 33-1 S). Nothing in statute requires employer to accommodate use of marijuana in the workplace.
Recreational Marijuana No
Report Driver DOT Positives No
General Statute--CHAPTER 28-6.5 Urine and Blood Tests as a Condition of Employment

State drug testing laws must be followed – Chapter 28-6.5 – Urine and Blood Tests as a Condition of Employment.

Employers in the highway maintenance industry, which shall include the construction, upkeep, maintenance and repair of the state’s highways, roads, and bridges including the repaving or resurfacing of the same shall be allowed to test in conformity with procedures outlined in  DOT regulations 49 CFR Part 40.

A written policy is required.  Termination only possible after rehabilitation has been offered for a first-time positive and the employee fails subsequent follow-up testing.  Post-accident drug testing for non-regulated employers may be prohibited in Rhode Island.

Medical Marijuana – Rhode Island Gen. Laws 21-28.6-7
Rhode Island has explicit employee protection with respect to medical marijuana:

  • The cardholder is not subject to arrest, prosecution, criminal or other penalties, and property forfeiture. No school, employer or landlord may refuse to enroll, employ or lease, or otherwise penalize solely for his/her status as a registered, qualified patient or registered primary caregiver.
  • Prohibits employment discrimination based on a person’s status as a registered medical marijuana user.
  • Does not require any employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in the workplace.

Intoxication Defense – Denial of Workers Compensation Claim – No compensation shall be allowed for the injury or death of an employee occasioned by his or her willful intention to bring about the injury or death of himself or herself or another, where it is proved that his or her injury or death was occasioned by that conduct, or that the injury or death resulted from his or her intoxication or unlawful use of controlled substances as defined in Rhode Island chapter 28 of title 21.

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.

Rhode Island State Law

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