Nevada prohibits discrimination against job applicants who use cannabis

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A new Nevada law prohibits employers from discriminating against potential employees who consume cannabis.

Assembly Bill 132, signed into law by Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak states it is “unlawful for any employer in [Nevada] to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee submitted to a screening test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana.”

The law will take effect beginning January 1, 2020.

The bill still allows for employers to administer drug tests if they choose but they are prohibited from not hiring someone based on the results of the test. Once the law takes effect in January, people will be able to take the issue to court if they feel they were discriminated against based on positive drug test results.

“I did a pre-employment screen test and I tested positive and didn’t get the job,” hypothesized Kiera Sears, a consultant at Joey Gilbert Law in Reno. “Then it becomes a legal issue of finding out why did the employer not hire this person.”

The law does not include applicants for some safety-sensitive jobs including firefighters, paramedics or people who drive for a living such as school bus drivers.

In wake of the new law, Sears suggests that employers make it very clear about their stance on cannabis use in the workplace when hiring so there is no confusion.

“Really work on your employment manual and really have a clear understanding that you can get to your employees so they understand your boundaries,” she recommended.

She also made some recommendations for applicants in Nevada who certainly can sigh a breath of relief thanks to the new law.

“Be respectful,” she said. “Nevada has given people the opportunity to participate in the consumption of marijuana and that’s a privilege. We’ve gone against the federal government and we should not take that for granted.”

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