The Top 5 Things to Know About Drug Testing in: Arizona

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The Top 5 Things to Know About Drug Testing in: Arizona

By Amanda Jones

This information is provided for educational purposes only. Reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein.

Arizona is best known for the Grand Canyon and its breathtaking desert landscapes. But just as important as its tourist destinations are the daily workers who make the state run and how their employers keep them, and those that they serve, safe from drug abuse and drug-related workplace accidents.

1. Drug Testing Law Type: Voluntary. Arizona has a voluntary drug testing law. Companies that wish to qualify for limited legal protections must comply with this law; other companies are not mandated to comply with this statute. Additionally, there is an unemployment compensation law in Arizona that contains its own drug testing requirements. Employers are not required to comply, unless they wish to deny unemployment compensation claims.

2. Workers’/Unemployment Compensation Denial: In order to deny unemployment compensation claims, employers must follow certain drug testing guidelines. No cause of action is or may be established for any person against an employer who has established a policy and initiated a testing program in accordance with the voluntary law. An individual is ineligible for benefits if he or she is discharged for misconduct.1

3. Marijuana Laws: Employees may not be under the influence of marijuana while at work. An employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, imposing any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person based upon either the person’s status as a medical marijuana cardholder, or registered qualifying patient’s positive drug test for marijuana, unless the patient used, possessed, or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment.2

4. A Major Case Law Decision: In the case of Whitmire v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walmart terminated the plaintiff after she tested positive for marijuana on a drug test following a small workplace injury. She had previously obtained a medical marijuana prescription legally and attested that she never used it while at work and was never impaired at work. However, Walmart had recently updated its policy to include medical marijuana use as a cause for termination. Therefore, when she tested positive for marijuana metabolite in her urine after the incident, she was terminated for that single reason. The court scolded Walmart for providing no other evidence of impairment at work other than an HR manager’s interpretation of drug test results. Walmart failed to establish a “good faith basis” that the individual was impaired at work because the HR Manager’s interpretation of the results was not an “expert opinion.” In order to terminate an employee who has a medical marijuana license and has tested positive on a drug test, an Arizona employer with a zero-tolerance drug policy must establish that it has a good faith basis to believe that the employee was actually impaired at work. An interpretation of a drug test conducted by another non-expert employee concluding that the allegedly impaired employee was indeed impaired does not constitute a good faith basis. 3

5. How to Test: Testing must occur during, immediately before, or immediately after a regular work period. Testing time shall be deemed work time for purposes of compensation and benefits for current employees. 4

The Current Consulting Group provides extensive information about laws in each state that affect workplace drug and alcohol testing at CurrentCompliance.org. Learn how to subscribe here.

1 https://codes.findlaw.com/az/title-23-labor/#!tid=NB7524710709D11DAA16E8D4AC7636430

2 https://codes.findlaw.com/az/title-36-public-health-and-safety/az-rev-st-sect-36-2801.html

3 https://casetext.com/case/whitmire-v-wal-mart-stores-inc-2

4 https://codes.findlaw.com/az/title-23-labor/az-rev-st-sect-23-493.html

© 2010-2022 The Current Consulting Group, LLC – No portion of this article may be reproduced, retransmitted, posted on a website, or used in any manner without the written consent of the Current Consulting Group, LLC. When permission is granted to reproduce this article in any way, full attribution to the author and copyright holder is required.

 

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