Rhode Island Alcohol & Drugs: What you need to know

Rhode Island has a drug-testing law that covers all employers. The law:

  • Permits preemployment testing of private sector applicants after a conditional job offer has been made
  • Permits preemployment testing of public sector applicants only in public safety positions or positions where federal law requires such testing
  • Allows employers to test specific employees if there is reason to believe that drug use is impairing job performance
  • Permits testing of employees in conjunction with a bona fide rehabilitation program
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In addition, employers who wish to test must have a written drug abuse prevention policy in place. On-site testing is permitted. Employers must use procedures that ensure privacy. Employees who test positive must be given the chance to rebut or explain the results and to be retested. Employees who test positive cannot be terminated on that basis. They must instead be referred to a substance abuse professional for assistance, provided that additional testing may be required by the employer in accordance with the referral. An employee whose testing indicates continued use of controlled substances despite treatment may be terminated (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 28-6.5-1 et seq.).

The state medical marijuana law protects patients with debilitating medical conditions, and their physicians and primary caregivers, from arrest and prosecution if such patients engage in the medical use of marijuana. State law prohibits employers from refusing to employ a qualifying patient who has a medical marijuana registry identification card, solely based on his or her status as a registered qualifying patient. Nothing in the state medical marijuana law may be construed to require an employer to accommodate the ...

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