Oregon Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Oregon Drug Testing Laws 2024

Oregon state law does not impose mandatory drug testing requirements on employers, but provides flexibility in how drug and alcohol tests are conducted. However, employers must fully comply with existing drug testing regulations to avoid penalties associated with workplace drug testing in Oregon. In line with complying with the drug testing regulations, employers are advised to establish workplace drug program rules that inform employees about the possibility and types of drug tests, the purpose of drug tests, the types of drugs being tested, and the potential consequences of positive results in employer-mandated drug tests.

The state requires that drug test analyses be conducted in state-approved clinical laboratories in compliance with testing regulations outlined in Oregon laws. Employers who fail to comply with the state's drug testing regulations may face legal consequences, such as:

  • Disability Discrimination: Individuals applying for jobs or already employed who are using medications due to disabilities are safeguarded by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Certain medications prescribed for individuals with disabilities may result in positive drug test outcomes. It is important to note that some prescribed medications may include substances that are otherwise considered illegal. For instance, opiates are legally prescribed for individuals with disabilities. If applicants or employees face adverse actions based on positive drug tests despite their medications being legally prescribed, the organization could be held liable
  • Invasion of Privacy: Employers, even if permitted or mandated to conduct tests, may infringe on employee privacy during the testing process. For instance, demanding employees to undress or provide a urine sample in front of others may be considered a privacy violation
  • Defamation: An employee could potentially pursue a defamation claim if the employer makes an employee's drug test result public or if the test result was inaccurate and the employer knew or had reason to know about the error
  • Discrimination Claims: Employers singling out specific groups of employees based on race, age, or gender, for drug testing may be liable to discrimination claims

Although marijuana is legal in the state, employees may be terminated for testing positive for marijuana, even if they use marijuana for medical purposes. Regardless of the legal status of marijuana, employers are permitted to enforce workplace drug policies to ensure the safety of workplace environments.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Oregon?

There are no restrictions on the kind of drugs that employers may test for as long as such drugs are considered illegal under state laws. Employers in Oregon may collect urine, blood, saliva, or hair samples to test for any substance or drug classified in Schedules I through V in the Federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 USC 811-812, including but not limited to mind-altering substances or narcotics such as:

  • Methadone
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Amphetamines

An employer may test an employee for THC use if there is reasonable suspicion that the employee is operating under the influence of an intoxicant. Besides reasonable suspicion testing, a THC drug test may also be conducted pre-employment, randomly, or after the occurrence of a workplace accident or injury that the employer suspects is related to impairment arising from drug use.

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Oregon?

Random drug tests are usually required in safety-sensitive positions, such as pilots, firefighters, law enforcement officers, nuclear power facility workers, railway car operators, healthcare professionals, positions requiring a CDL, positions that operate heavy or dangerous equipment, and positions that work primarily with vulnerable populations. However, nothing in Oregon laws stops employers from conducting random drug testing as long as the possibility of such tests is stated in the employer’s workplace drug testing policy.

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

You can be terminated for failing a drug test for a job in Oregon. Specific penalties will be stated in the employer’s drug testing policy, but the state allows employers to terminate applicants or employees for failing drug tests.

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

Yes. You may be fired for refusing a drug test in Oregon if your employer includes termination as a penalty for a drug test refusal in their drug test policy.

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

Possessing a medical marijuana card does not protect an employee from adverse employment actions, including termination if they fail a drug test. Therefore, if you fail a marijuana test for off-duty or on-duty THC use, you may be terminated.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Oregon?

Oregon employers can conduct drug tests on applicants since the state does not restrict them from testing applicants for drug use prior to employment. Applicants who fail or refuse to undertake required drug testing may be disqualified.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Oregon?

There are no specific mandatory pre-employment drug testing laws in Oregon. However, some employers, especially those in safety-sensitive industries or businesses, require applicants to pass a pre-employment drug test as a condition for employment.

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

Yes, Oregon allows employees in public agencies to be subjected to workplace drug tests. Many Oregon municipalities and agencies have drug testing laws and policies guiding drug-related activities in workplace environments.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Oregon employers have the freedom to create drug-free workplace policies. This means they can establish rules and procedures to promote a productive and safe work environment free from drug use. Employers can decide what substances their policy prohibits, the types of drug testing they will conduct, such as pre-employment, random, and post-accident drug testing, and the consequences for violating the policy. They can also determine the disciplinary measures for policy violations, ranging from counseling and rehabilitation programs to termination of employment.

Specifically, per Section 659A.127 of the Oregon Revised Statutes:

  • An employer may prohibit the transfer, purchase, or illegal use of drugs in a workplace environment by employees. Also, an employer may ban the possession of drugs except those prescribed by a licensed healthcare professional
  • An employer may insist that employees be not under the influence of illegally used drugs at the workplace
  • An employer may mandate that employees comply with the requirements established in the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988
  • An employer has the authority to apply similar qualification standards for employment, job performance, and behavior to an employee involved in illegal drug use as those applied to other employees. This applies even if the unsatisfactory performance or behavior is directly linked to the employee's illegal use of drugs

Employees Exempted From Oregon Workplace Drug Testing Laws

There are no specific categories of persons exempted from drug testing in Oregon workplace environments. However, federal employees working in Oregon are required to abide by the federal workplace drug laws or policies as enforced by their federal agencies. Such laws and regulations typically mandate pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, and random drug testing of employees.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Oregon?

Drug testing in Oregon must be conducted by state-certified clinical laboratories. Per state law, all laboratories performing drug tests or analyses must be licensed under the provisions of Oregon Revised Statutes 438.010 - 438.510. They must also employ qualified technical personnel to perform the tests and analyses.

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