West Virginia Drug Testing Laws 2024

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West Virginia Drug Testing Laws 2024

The West Virginia Safer Workplace Act, enacted in July 2017, gives employers the right to test potential and current employees for drugs as a condition for hiring or continued employment. It also establishes acceptable guidelines for testing and using test results. Employees with detectable levels of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites can be sanctioned within the terms of an employer’s drug testing policy. While the Safer Workplace Act does not require employers to establish drug testing programs, it offers a framework for doing so. It also outlines expectations and protections for employers and employees where such policies are put into place.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in West Virginia?

Employers can test workers for the presence of any drugs, including amphetamines, phencyclidine, cocaine, opiates, and cannabinoids (metabolites of marijuana) in West Virginia. The following drug tests are allowed:

  • Pre-employment drug testing after a conditional job offer
  • Drug testing of employees at random and before hiring individuals whose jobs are safety-sensitive
  • Testing carried out in response to a valid, honest, and reasonable suspicion that a worker is abusing drugs
  • Post-accident drug testing after a workplace accident
  • Probation drug testing required by the federal and county drug courts for people on probation
  • DOT drug tests for safety-sensitive individuals in positions under the Department of Transportation

The use of hair follicles and oral fluids is restricted. Only urine or blood specimens may be collected for workplace drug tests in West Virginia.

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in West Virginia?

Yes. In West Virginia, employers can subject their employees to random drug tests by selecting employees randomly using an unbiased selection method. However, employment terms must be updated promptly to guarantee that drug-free workplace policies and testing procedures comply with the Safer Workplace Act.

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

Prospective employees in West Virginia may not be hired if they fail drug tests for jobs under employers with drug-free workplace policies. The same applies to current employees. Such employers typically require a negative drug test result as a condition of hiring or continued employment in accordance with the West Virginia Drug-Free Workplace Act. According to the Medical Marijuana Act, an employee with a valid recommendation for medical marijuana is legally protected from discrimination, refusal to hire, or termination if they fail a drug test for marijuana as a result of medical cannabis use.

Can I Be Fired for Refusing a Drug Test in West Virginia?

Yes. In West Virginia, employers have the right to terminate an employee’s appointment for refusing to submit to a drug test. Employers are protected from liability as long as the test results are not disclosed to the public as required by the Safer Workplace Act.

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

While the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act protects medical cannabis users from workplace discrimination, it is not mandatory for an employer to approve employees’ usage of medical marijuana at work. As a result, employers can implement drug-free workplace policies prohibiting marijuana use in the workplace. However, if an employee fails a drug test and has a legitimate recommendation for medical marijuana, they are protected from being fired as long as they are not caught using their medications on the workplace premises.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in West Virginia?

Employers in West Virginia can screen potential hires for illicit drugs and can choose which drugs to test as long as it is permitted by their drug testing policies, and they are not violating any state law. Applicants may not be hired if they refuse to submit to such drug tests or test positive. However, as part of the hiring process, job candidates must be made aware that a drug test is required, and as a condition of hiring them.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in West Virginia?

Yes, employers can conduct pre-employment tests in West Virginia, especially for safety-sensitive positions. For instance, an offer of employment for a job under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is subject to a candidate passing a pre-employment drug test. If the candidate fails the pre-employment drug test, they will not be employed.

Does West Virginia Allow Public Agencies to Submit Employees to Workplace Drug Tests?

Public sector employees in the state are subject to West Virginia’s drug testing regulations. A public employer or agency may require samples from his employees to be tested for the presence of drugs as a condition of continued employment.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

West Virginia allows employers to mandate that their workplaces be drug-free, in keeping with the Division of Personnel policies. To maintain a workplace free of drugs, an employer must create a drug awareness program and make copies of their drug-free workplace policy available to all employees.

Employees Exempted From West Virginia Workplace Drug Testing Laws

In West Virginia, certain types of employees are exempt from the provisions of the state’s drug testing laws. Employees who are mandated by law to adhere to the United States Department of Transportation's drug testing criteria are not subject to the West Virginia Alcohol and Drug-Free Workplace Act. Others are workers or independent contractors involved in legal work or service-related activities, such as law enforcement, regulatory enforcement, garbage collection, and disposal.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in West Virginia?

Workplace drug tests in West Virginia must be administered by labs certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a requirement for hiring or continuing employment. Instant drug testing is prohibited in the state.

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