Louisiana Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Louisiana Drug Testing Laws 2024

Workplace drug testing is not mandatory in Louisiana. Subjecting employees to drug tests is an employer's choice. However, if conducted, workplace drug tests must be in line with state statutes. Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, employers can punish employees for off-duty cannabis use per Revised Statute 40:1046 La. Also, employees with detectable levels of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites can be sanctioned. The state allows municipalities to enact ordinances regarding drug testing in their domains. However, state employers are not allowed to impose adverse employment consequences on current or potential employees based solely on a positive drug test result. Generally, drug testing in the workplace is not mandated by federal law, and businesses that choose to test their employees are not subject to any particular rules. Organizations that receive government grants are required by the Drug-Free Workplace Act to establish a drug-free workplace policy.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Louisiana?

Louisiana employers are allowed to test employees for the presence of certain drugs. These include cannabinoids (metabolites of marijuana), cocaine metabolites, opiate metabolites, phencyclidine, and amphetamines, in compliance with R.S. 49:1001 et seq. Samples such as blood, hair, urine, and saliva can be collected by the employers for testing. The following types of marijuana drug tests are allowed in Louisiana:

  • Pre-employment drug testing after a conditional job offer at a predetermined time and location
  • Drug testing of employees at random and before hiring those in security-sensitive positions
  • A reasonable suspicion test to verify whether a worker has used drugs that could hinder and negatively impact their performance at work
  • Return-to-Duty testing conducted after an employee’s participation in a Substance Abuse Rehabilitation program, either voluntarily or as a requirement for continued employment
  • Post-accident test in the event that an employee is directly involved in an accident that happens in the workplace

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Louisiana?

Yes. Louisiana employers are not prohibited from conducting random drug testing. For instance, the state’s Department of Revenue makes provision for random testing. Random drug testing in the workplace can be administered with or without prior notification to employees.

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

In Louisiana, prospective employees may not be hired if they fail drug tests for jobs under employers with drug-free workplace policies and require negative test results as a condition of employment. However, an employee with a valid recommendation for medical marijuana is legally protected from being dismissed in the event of failing a drug test.

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

Yes. In Louisiana, employers have the right to terminate an employee’s appointment for refusing to submit to a drug test. The state has no legislation governing drug testing for private employers. If an employee can explain good reasons for not taking a workplace drug test, they might be able to challenge their employer’s firing decision. Bias in the test's selection process or a lack of policy regarding drug testing could be used as grounds for contesting an employer’s action for refusing a drug test.

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

Patients using medical marijuana in Louisiana have little workplace protections. According to federal laws, employers are allowed to enforce a drug-free workplace, which includes prohibiting the use of marijuana. However, an employee with a valid recommendation for medical marijuana is legally protected from being dismissed in the event of failing a workplace drug test in Louisiana.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, employers may administer drug tests to prospective employees, and they are free to decide what kind of drug tests to conduct. Job applicants who refuse or fail drug tests may not be hired. However, employees should be informed that a drug test is required as part of the employment selection process.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Louisiana?

In certain industries or positions, drug tests can be required by employers in Louisiana before employees resume work or after offering them a job. Pre-employment testing on the basis of reasonable suspicion is not required of staff members who transfer to a department from other state agencies without a break in service.

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

Louisiana’s drug testing laws apply to public sector employees. Hence, public agencies can request employees to submit to workplace drug tests in the following situations as a condition for continued employment:

  • Where there is a reasonable suspicion that drugs are being used
  • As part of a monitoring program designed by the employer to ensure compliance with the terms of a rehabilitation agreement,

If a state or local government employee has a valid recommendation for medical marijuana, they are legally protected from being fired for failing a drug test for cannabis in Louisiana.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Louisiana allows employers to mandate that their workplaces be drug-free, in keeping with the Division of Administration's (DOA) tenets. The state has long maintained a drug-free workplace policy. The Louisiana Legislature passed legislation that provides for the establishment and implementation of measures aimed at curbing the use of illegal drugs by employees in workplaces. These laws impose various obligations on grantees that fall within their purview. In compliance with Louisiana Revised Statute 49:1001, et seq., Executive Order No. BJ 08-69 permits executive agencies to establish written rules requiring drug testing of employees, appointees, and potential appointees as a requirement of employment. An employee is prohibited from reporting for duty or carrying out official business while under the influence of drugs.

Employees Exempted From Louisiana Workplace Drug Testing Laws

The state’s drug testing law exempts certain types of employees from the provisions of its drug testing laws. They include federal employees, commercial transport workers, law enforcement agents, employers in safety-sensitive industries such as aviation, and contractors working with NASA and the Department of Defense. They are required to pass a drug test in order to be appointed to or promoted to such jobs.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, if an employer intends to use drug test results to make employment decisions, then the tests must be conducted in certified laboratories using prescribed protocols. Such laboratories must be certified by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Also, they must have successfully completed a proficiency test program for any screened substances listed in R.S. 49:1002(A) i. Certified drug testing labs in Louisiana must know how to keep records and ensure continuous quality assurance, quality control, and equipment maintenance. The Bureau of Health Services Financing, Health Standards Section of the Department of Health and Hospitals certifies drug testing labs in the state.

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