North Dakota Alcohol & Drugs: What you need to know

Some states have comprehensive laws that regulate or prohibit drug testing, but North Dakota does not have such a law. North Dakota employers are therefore free to implement any kind of drug-testing programs at their own discretion. However, if an employer requires an employee or applicant to take a drug or alcohol test as a condition of retaining or obtaining employment, the employer must pay for the test and for the furnishing of any medical records (ND Cent. Code Sec. 34-01-15).

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The North Dakota Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment based on certain classifications, including disability (ND Cent. Code Sec. 14-02.4-01 et seq.). The law applies to all employers in the state, and could, in theory at least, apply to someone with an addiction to alcohol or drugs. To be covered, such individuals would have to meet the definition of "disability," i.e., be able to prove that they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. They would also have to be able to perform the job in question satisfactorily, with reasonable accommodation.

Current use of illegal drugs is not a protected disability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Alcoholism is considered a disability, but federal law provides that an employer may hold an alcoholic employee to the same qualifications and job performance standards as other employees, even if unsatisfactory performance is caused by the alcoholism.

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1998 establishes a drug-free workplace demonstration program within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Under this program, SBA can make grants to eligible ...

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