Arizona Drug Testing Laws 2024

Related Pages:
Arizona Cannabis Testing Labs >

Arizona Drug Testing Laws 2024

Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), Title 23 Article 14 and Section 36-2813 of the Medical Marijuana Act determined the scope of workplace drug testing for employees in the state. The state’s Medical Marijuana Act prohibits employers from discriminating against registered medical marijuana cardholders solely based on positive drug test results for marijuana. However, the ARS provides little or no protection for recreational consumers in a workplace with a drug testing program.

Arizona drug testing laws cover the collection of samples from employees, disciplinary procedures on positive cannabis drug tests, and employer protection from litigation. Employers can punish persons who test positive for cannabis metabolites. Therefore, employees who are recreational users can be penalized for off-duty cannabis consumption. Notwithstanding, Section 23-493-07 of the ARS does provide employees some protection against false positive test results and wilful intent by employers to disregard the results of drug tests.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Arizona?

Arizona employers comply with the federal guidelines on workplace testing for controlled substances and may test employees for marijuana (THC), cocaine, opioids, Amphetamines (AMP), and Phencyclidine (PCP). Employers may collect urine, hair, saliva, or blood specimens to conduct cannabis drug tests. The drug test method chosen by employers must not breach the state’s legal requirements. Common workplace drug testing methods in Arizona include the following:

  • Impairment Testing: Employers may consider employees impaired with cannabis if they manifest specific relatable symptoms during work that significantly decrease their productivity or interfere with workplace safety and health regulations
  • Reasonable Suspicion Testing: Testing for marijuana based on reasonable suspicions must be prompted by observations like employees’ questionable movement, slurred speech, dilated eyes, irritable and argumentative behavior, drowsiness, sleeping, and unconsciousness
  • THC Metabolites Testing: THC metabolites are fat soluble and are detectable in the user's system weeks after last consumption. THC metabolites testing detects THC levels in a user's system and is not a reliable indicator of marijuana impairment

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Arizona?

Yes. Employers in Arizona may conduct random drug testing on their employees. Per Section 23-493.04 of the ARS, employees may be required to undergo random or chance drug testing. There is no law in Arizona mandating employers to notify employees before conducting random drug tests. However, state law requires employers to communicate their drug testing policies to employees via their company handbook or employment contacts to ensure transparency and fairness in the workplace.

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

Arizona Statutes, Section 23-493.05, outlines disciplinary actions employers may take based on employees' positive drug tests. Upon receipt of a positive drug test, an employer may take the following disciplinary actions against the employee:

  • Ask the employee to enroll in an employer-approved rehabilitation, counseling, or treatment program
  • Suspend the employee from work for a predetermined period, with or without pay
  • Employment termination
  • Refusal to proceed with hiring (in the case of a prospective employee)

Arizona does not have explicit protection for employees who fail workplace drug tests. However, Section 23-493.08 of the ARS provides some protection for employees who can show that:

  • The test results were disclosed to persons other than the employer or authorized employee
  • The test result was a false positive
  • The employer negligently disclosed the false positive drug test results
  • The employer willfully intends to disregard the truth or mislead

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

Yes, employers can terminate employees for refusing drug tests in Arizona. State law does not provide protection for employees who refuse drug testing, especially if the refusal violates the company's established drug testing policies. Section 23-493.05 of the ARS stipulates that refusing to provide a drug testing sample is a basis for disciplinary procedures, including employment termination.

In Arizona, employees who choose to contest their termination based on their refusal to undergo drug tests have limited legal options. They may only challenge the termination on the grounds that the drug test request was unlawful, retaliatory, or discriminatory.

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

No. Medical marijuana cardholders in Arizona cannot be fired based on positive drug tests. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) provides statutory protection against employers from discriminating against persons holding Arizona medical marijuana cards. Per Section 36-2813B of the Act, employers cannot penalize qualifying patients based on positive drug tests for marijuana, provided employees do not consume or possess the marijuana at their place of employment. Notwithstanding, employers may deny medical marijuana users employment if hiring such individuals can cost the employer a loss of contract or licensing-related benefits from the federal government.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Arizona?

Yes, Arizona employers can require persons seeking employment to submit to drug tests. There is limited protection for applicants against drug testing in Arizona. However, the general protection job candidates can rely on include:

  • Privacy Rights: Employers must maintain the confidentiality of the test results
  • Medical Marijuana Considerations: Arizona law does not permit employment disqualification based solely on one's medical marijuana use
  • Discrimination: Where employers show prejudice against job applicants in conducting drug tests, such candidates can seek legal recourse

Should job applicants in Arizona refuse drug testing, an employer may choose not to proceed with the hiring process, as refusal may be deemed non-compliance with the company’s drug policy.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Arizona?

Yes, Arizona pre-employment drug testing laws permit employers to conduct drug tests on prospective employees during the pre-employment screening phase. However, it is not mandatory, as no state laws compel employers to request pre-employment drug screening. Generally, most employers implement pre-employment drug testing as part of their recruitment process without specific suspicion of drug use among prospective employees.

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

Arizona drug testing law applies to private and public sector employees. State and local government agencies can establish drug testing policies that comply with established state laws on drug testing. Individuals hired by such public employees are subject to Arizona drug testing laws. Arizona law provides little protection for drug-testing employees. Consequently, state and local government employees may be subject to pre-employment or random drug testing.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Per Proposition 207, employers can create and maintain drug-free workplace policies in Arizona. The Act specifies that employers can restrict the use of marijuana by employees and prohibits its use and possession in the place of employment.

There are no specific requirements for employers to create a drug-free workplace. However, most employers strive to meet the following general considerations to ensure compliance with state laws:

  • Legal Compliance: Employers must be aware of state and federal laws and comply with them
  • Communication: Employers must communicate the drug-free workplace policies to employees
  • Employee Privacy Consideration: Employers must establish procedures to protect the confidentiality of the drug testing process
  • Testing Procedures: Employers must follow recognized drug testing procedures and use trusted testing facilities

Employees Exempted From Arizona Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Most federal employees in Arizona are not subject to the state’s workplace drug testing laws. Federal regulations mandate drug testing for federal employees. For instance, commercial transport workers, truck drivers, pilots, and other safety-sensitive job functions within the transportation industry are subject to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Employees required to drive commercial motor vehicles are also subject to drug testing rules of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCAS) as outlined by the DOT in 49 CFR Part 40. Likewise, federal employees in safety-sensitive public safety classification, such as employees of the police and fire departments, are prohibited from using marijuana and are subject to drug testing policies established by their agencies.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Arizona?

Per Section 23-493.03(5) of the ARS, drug testing in Arizona can be conducted only at laboratories certified by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the College of American Pathologists. In addition, the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) grants laboratory drug testing licenses in the state. Drug testing labs in Arizona may seek accreditation from recognized accrediting bodies to ensure compliance with acceptable standards while providing drug testing services. The types of accreditation drug testing labs in Arizona may obtain include:

  • Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA): Obtaining the CLIA accreditation shows that drug testing laboratories provide quality standards for all clinical laboratory drug testing, including workplace drug testing
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO): ISO/IEC 17025 is an international accreditation that shows drug testing laboratories have the competence to provide thorough drug testing with accurate results
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Arizona drug testing laboratories must be accredited by the SAMHSA to provide drug testing services for federal institutions
In this section: