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


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

By Amanda Jones, Staff Writer & Editor at Current Consulting Group (CCG)

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

Illinois does not provide employers with much guidance regarding drug testing, which can make an employer’s goal of maintaining a safe, drug-free work environment hard to achieve. However, the law does allow employers some options when it comes to setting up a drug-free workplace policy and gives directions on what they can do after a drug-related accident has occurred. It is important for employers in Illinois to be aware of guidelines from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and how to adhere to them in order to protect their businesses in the event of a drug-related accident.

  1. Drug Testing Law Type: None. Illinois does not have a general drug testing law. Exceptions exist for law enforcement officers, where testing is required after an “officer-involved shooting,”1 and for public works employees.
  2. Random Testing: For public works, drug testing prior to starting work on a project is not required if the worker has been part of a random drug testing program for 90 days leading up to starting work on the project.2
  3. Workers’/Unemployment Compensation Denial: Illinois has adopted the USDOT’s regulations on workers’ compensation claims. Employers are not required to adhere to these regulations unless they wish to move to deny a workers’ compensation claim. Illinois regulations state that no compensation shall be payable if: 1) the employee’s intoxication is the proximate cause of the employee’s accidental injury, or 2) at the time the employee incurred the accidental injury, the employee was so intoxicated that the intoxication constituted a departure from the employment. If there is evidence that a controlled substance, such as cannabis, was used at the time of the accident, employers may refuse compensation because the intoxication was likely the cause of the accident.3
  4. Marijuana Laws: Employers can adopt reasonable zero tolerance or drug-free workplace policies, as well as policies that require drug testing, as long as the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.4 Any testing that has not been performed by an accredited or certified testing laboratory shall not be admissible in any hearing under 820 Illinois Comp. Stat. 305/11.5 Nothing in the law creates a defense for failing a drug test.6 However, employers cannot penalize an employee based solely on their status as a qualifying medical marijuana patient unless failing to do so would compromise the business’ ability to receive funding or would jeopardize work safety.
  5. How to Test: Public works-related testing must follow SAMHSA laboratory and chain-of-custody procedures. All testing must take place at a certified laboratory. In order to be able to deny workers’ compensation claims, employers must also adhere to SAMHSA guidelines. Currently, only lab-based urine and lab-based oral fluid drug testing are included in the SAMHSA regulations.

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

End Notes







© 2010-2023 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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