Missouri Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Missouri Drug Testing Laws 2024

As of 2024, Missouri has no drug testing law and largely defers to federal rules on workplace drug testing. However, workplace drug testing is not restricted or prohibited unless an employer's drug testing policy violates other state or federal laws. Missouri Amendment 3, which amended Section of Article XIV of the state's Constitution, became effective in December 2022. While it made some significant changes to the state's existing medical cannabis laws, it does not prohibit employers from creating policies banning cannabis use in the workplace.

Under Amendment 3, Missouri employers are not required to allow employees to work or attempt to perform their duties while under the influence of cannabis. Employers can still punish or terminate employees for working under the influence of marijuana. Although Missouri's Workers' Compensation Law contains certain drug testing requirements, employers are not mandated to comply unless they intend to deny workers' or unemployment compensation claims.

Missouri voters' approval of Amendment 2 in December 2018 legalized medical cannabis and provided cannabis patients with valid medical cards with employment protections, although with certain exceptions. Generally, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on their status as cannabis patients with valid medical marijuana cards. Also, they cannot make employment-related decisions for marijuana patients' off-duty legal use of cannabis during non-working hours or for positive drug test results of employees with valid medical cannabis cards. However, this protection does not cover them if caught consuming, possessing, or under the influence of medical cannabis in the workplace. Furthermore, the protection does not apply to job positions in which the legal use of medical cannabis can affect employees' ability to do their work.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Missouri?

While Missouri has no binding drug testing laws, most employers with workplace drug testing policies use the 5-panel drug tests. This test is mostly conducted to identify marijuana, cocaine, phencyclidine, amphetamines, and opiates. However, employers are not restricted and may choose to use more extensive tests to detect additional illicit drugs. In Missouri, an employer's adopted drug-free workplace policy may include the following types of drug tests:

  • Reasonable Suspicion Drug Tests - Employers can drug test employees who show noticeable signs of being unfit to work, especially to ensure a safe work environment
  • Annual Physical Drug Tests - This is usually conducted as part of the workplace physical examination, but employers are required to inform employees in advance that drug testing will form a part of the annual physical examination
  • Random Drug Tests - This is the most effective drug testing method used by employers. It is done by randomly selecting a few people from a pool of employees and drug-testing them
  • Pre-Employment Drug Tests - Some employers conduct this test as a condition of hiring job candidates
  • Post-Accident Drug Tests - This is used to determine whether drug use was responsible for or a contributing factor to a workplace-related accident

Depending on what drug an employer intends to detect, they can use hair, saliva, urine, fluid, or blood as the specimen for workplace drug tests in Missouri. No state law restricts the use of any of these as samples for drug tests, except drug testing is for workers' compensation purposes.

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Missouri?

Yes. Even though there are no drug laws in Missouri, employers are not prohibited from conducting random drug tests, provided it is not done to discriminate against certain employees. In many cases, employers use random drug testing when there are reasonable suspicions of employees' violation of workplace drug policies. Random drug tests in Missouri must be exactly random and should not target specific employees for testing based on sex, race, or other variables. Employers are not required to notify employees before conducting random testing as long as they have established workplace drug testing policies and the employees are officially aware.

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

The consequences of failing a drug test in Missouri depend on the agreement between an employee and their employer as stipulated in the employer's drug-free workplace policy. Generally, an employer may discipline such an employee or activate the ultimate punishment of employment termination. For instance, the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) Personnel Policy Manual prohibits its employees from testing positive for metabolites of illicit substances. It is considered a work-related misconduct that usually leads to employees being dismissed. The state's Department of Transportation's stance on failing workplace drug tests complies with the United States DOT rules that prohibit drug use for employees in commercial driver’s license (CDL) and non-CDL positions.

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

In Missouri, the outcomes of refusing a workplace drug test will depend on what an employer's drug-free workplace policy recommends. They may range from enforcing certain disciplinary actions to employment termination. The state has no comprehensive drug test policy, so employers are free to decide the consequences of refusing a drug test, although in line with federal laws. For instance, any Missouri State University (MSU) employee who refuses a workplace-mandated drug test risks being dismissed from work. Under the institution's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy, failure to submit to a drug test is considered a verified positive drug test that may result in adverse employment action, including appointment termination.

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

State law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants in Missouri based on marijuana-positive drug tests as long as such employees have valid medical cannabis cards. Hence, no employer will take adverse action, including employment termination, against an employee's lawful and off-duty use of medical cannabis. Registered medical patients can assert their rights by filing lawsuits against Missouri employers who fire them for failing drug tests for cannabis, provided they are not caught using marijuana on the workplace premises.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Missouri?

No state law prohibits a Missouri employer from conducting drug tests on job candidates if an employer's workplace drug testing policy includes a clause on testing job applicants at the interview stage. Whatever decision the employer makes with the result of such a test is entirely up to them as stipulated in their policy. However, in many cases, employers often refuse to hire applicants who test positive for or refuse drug tests at the interview stage.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Missouri?

No pre-employment drug testing law exists in Missouri, as the state has no standard regulations for workplace drug testing. However, per Section 288.045 (4) of the Missouri Revisor of Statutes, an employer may request pre-employment drug tests for controlled substances as a condition of employment. The standard practice in the state is that employers must inform candidates of drug test requirements in advance. Pre-employment drug tests are not mandatory in Missouri, and conducting them is at the discretion of employers.

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

As of 2024, no specific laws address workplace drug testing for public and private employers in Missouri. However, several public agencies in the state have established policies to maintain drug-free workplaces and conduct drug tests. For example, Missouri State University has a policy addressing alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace. The policy lists the types of tests the university may conduct on employees and stipulates the consequences of failing such drug tests. Similarly, the state's Department of Transportation has a workplace drug policy addressing employees' drug testing. Any public agency that intends to run a drug-free workplace in Missouri can establish a drug-free workplace policy or program as long as the policy does not violate other state laws.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Despite Missouri's lack of drug-free workplace policy law, employers in the state are not restricted from creating policies to make their work premises safe from illicit drugs. Establishing a drug-free workplace policy is required to enact drug testing laws within a work environment. An employer must meet certain requirements before establishing a drug-free workplace policy in Missouri. One such criterion is meeting legal requirements, which include making a drug-free workplace policy statement available to employees. Another requirement is ensuring the policy addresses one or more illegal substances, including marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, and opiates.

Employees Exempted From Missouri Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Missouri has no workplace drug testing laws. However, the state defers to federal laws regarding workplace drug testing where required. While it is not mandatory for employers in the state to have drug testing laws, there are exceptions. Federal law requires employers in certain safety-sensitive industries in Missouri to establish drug-free workplace policies and drug-test employees. These include law enforcement officers, healthcare providers, commercial transport workers, and employees working mainly with children. Similarly, federal grantees and contractors in the state are required by federal law to maintain drug-free workplace policies and conduct drug tests on employees.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Missouri?

Since Missouri has no drug testing law, employers with drug-free workplace policies are not restricted in their choice of lab for workplace drug testing. However, using laboratories certified by the United States SAMHSA is recommended.

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