Maine Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Maine Drug Testing Laws 2024

Maine employers must adhere to Chapter 7 Section 263 of the state’s Revised Statutes (MRS) when developing their drug testing policies. Maine drug testing law covers sample collection from employees, sample storage, consequences of positive drug test results, waivers for temporary employment, and testing procedures. In addition, Chapter 7 Section 681 of the MRS protects the privacy rights of employees from undue invasion by employers regarding drug testing.

Under Maine drug testing law, employers cannot penalize employees for off-duty cannabis use. However, employers can enact workplace policies restricting the consumption of marijuana in the workplace. Per Chapter 7 Section 681(4) of the MRS, counties, and cities may not enact ordinances under their home rule authority to regulate employers' drug testing of employees.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Maine?

In Maine, employers are permitted to drug test for amphetamine, cocaine, phencyclidine, opiates, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and marijuana. State drug testing legislation permits employers to obtain blood, hair follicles, saliva, and urine specimens from employees for workplace drug testing for marijuana. In addition, Maine law allows employers with drug-free workplace policies to conduct the following marijuana tests:

  • Random Test: An employer may conduct random drug tests provided it is included in the employer’s drug testing policy
  • Pre-employment Test: Pre-employment testing is used to screen job applicants before hiring
  • Reasonable Suspicion Test: Reasonable suspicion testing is carried out based on the observation of a supervisor that an employee’s conduct is influenced by controlled substances
  • Arbitrary Test: Employee arbitrary testing is based on events, such as a promotion, employment anniversary, or contract obligation. Arbitrary employee drug testing may only be conducted on employees with job functions that can pose a threat to the health and safety of the public or other employees
  • Return-to-Duty Substance Test: Upon successfully completing a drug rehabilitation program but before returning to work, an employee can be drug tested for the presence of THC metabolites in their system

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Maine?

Yes, Maine employers may conduct random drug testing on employees. The Maine Revised Statutes, Chapter 7 Section 684(3), permits employers to select individuals randomly from a pool for drug testing. However, employers may only conduct random drug testing if:

  • It is included in the employer's drug-free workplace policy and duly communicated to employees
  • They have more than 20 employees
  • Employees work in a position that creates an unreasonable threat to the health and safety of the public or their co-workers
  • The employer and employee bargained for the provision of random drug testing in a collective bargaining agreement

What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test in Maine for a Job?

Maine drug testing law permits employers to penalize employees who fail drug tests. In Maine, employers can take any of the following actions against employees upon confirmation of positive drug test results:

  • Mandatory registration in a drug rehabilitation or treatment program for up to 6 months
  • Job termination where the employee refuses to submit to the rehabilitation or treatment program
  • Employment termination for subsequent confirmed positive test results

Per Maine drug testing law, the only protection available to an employee who fails an initial workplace drug test is compulsory attendance in a drug rehabilitation program.

Can I Be Fired for Refusing a Drug Test in Maine?

It depends. In Maine, refusal to take drug tests constitutes failed drug tests. Consequently, employees who refuse to submit specimens for drug tests will be removed from their positions but not terminated. Such employees may only be reinstated after return-to-duty drug tests are conducted under direct observation and verified with negative results. However, employees who fail to submit for return-to-duty drug testing will have their jobs terminated.

Can You Get Fired for Failing a Drug Test with a Medical Card in Maine?

Per Section 2430C of the MRS, employers cannot penalize a person solely based on their status as registered medical marijuana cardholders. Maine law requires employees who use medical marijuana to inform their department's Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator.

However, the state’s drug test law does not protect employees who are medical marijuana cardholders working in safety-sensitive jobs. In Maine, medical marijuana patients working in safety-sensitive job functions who test positive for marijuana will be removed from their duties. Such employees may only return to their positions after passing return-to-duty drug tests as required under Maine law. Employees can contest the drug test results that come out positive within a 3-day period of the results.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Maine?

Yes, Maine drug testing law permits employers with drug-free workplace policies to conduct drug tests on job applicants during the hiring process. However, employers must inform applicants of their drug testing requirements during the vacancy announcement or interviewing phase of the recruitment process. In addition, Maine drug testing law requires employees to obtain signed documentation from job candidates consenting to the drug testing procedure. In Maine, employers can deny employment to job seekers who test positive for drug tests. Also, applicants will not be hired for refusing to submit specimens for drug testing.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Maine?

Yes, pre-employment drug testing is legal in Maine. Under Maine pre-employment drug testing laws, employers may require job applicants to submit to drug tests if they have been offered employment with the employer but have yet to resume work. Maine does not mandate pre-employment drug testing. However, it does require that applicants hired for safety-sensitive job functions must undertake drug tests and may not be hired unless the applicants complete and pass the drug tests.

Does Maine Allow Public Agencies to Submit Employees to Workplace Drug Tests?

Maine drug test law permits public and private agencies to conduct workplace drug tests on employees. Private and public employers, regardless of their size, can enact drug-free workplace policies provided they comply with state requirements on drug testing in the workplace. State and local governments are subject to Maine drug testing laws. Therefore, state and local government employers may conduct pre-employment drug tests, reasonable suspicion tests, random tests, and arbitrary testing on their employees.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Yes, employers can create drug-free workplace policies in Maine. Only employers with drug testing policies approved by the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) can screen their employees for drug use in the state. However, before establishing a drug-free workplace program, an employer with over 20 full-time employees must have a working Employee Assistance Program. Other requirements for creating a drug-free workplace policy in Maine include:

To effectively implement the drug-free workplace policy, the employer must meet the following requirements:

  • Consult employees during the development phases of the testing policy
  • Give written notice to employees on the drug testing policy submitted to the DOL for review
  • Provide instructions on where employees can review the proposed policy
  • Provide the MDOL contact information for employees' input
  • Provide employees with copies of the policy at least 30 days before it takes effect

Employees Exempted From Maine Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Employers with employees who are subject to federal drug testing regulations and are tested under federal testing programs are exempted from Maine workplace drug testing laws. For instance, commercial transport workers and other safety-sensitive positions within the transportation industry, including employees in aviation, trucking, pipeline, railroad, and maritime industries, are subject to federal regulations of the Department of Transport (DOT). The DOT requires commercial transport workers to undertake specific drug testing as contained in 49 CFR Part 40.

Maine workplace drug testing laws exempt federal employees in safety-sensitive job roles, such as officers of the fire and police departments, from its drug testing laws. These employees are usually tested under the federal drug testing programs. In addition, employees covered by collective bargaining agreements may have negotiated specific terms related to drug testing. Such agreements may specify conditions or procedures for drug testing or outrightly exempt the employees from Maine workplace drug testing laws.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Maine?

Employers cannot directly administer drug tests to their employees. Only laboratories certified by the MDOL may conduct drug testing. Furthermore, the sample obtained must be collected by licensed doctors or nurses in a medical facility. The MDOL requires all certifying labs in the state to obtain CLIA certification issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CLIA certificate comprises of the following:

  • Certificate of Compliance: It is issued after a CLIA inspection where it is determined that the laboratory is in compliance with all applicable laws
  • Certificate of Accreditation: It is issued by an accrediting organization approved by the CMS, stating that the laboratory meets applicable CLIA requirements
  • Certificate of Registration: A certificate issued to show that the laboratory can perform complex laboratory testings

In addition, drug testing laboratories in Maine may obtain the following licenses:

  • CAP-Accreditation: The College of American Pathologists (CAP) Laboratory Accreditation Program assures users of the laboratory’s test results accuracy
  • SAMHSA Certified: Obtaining a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration certification implies that the laboratory is authorized to provide drug testing for regulated industries and federal agencies
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