Arkansas Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Arkansas Drug Testing Laws 2024

In Arkansas, workplace drug testing must follow the procedures specified in AWCC Rule 099.36 and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rule 49 CFR Part 40. Employers can establish drug-free workplace programs and discipline or fire employees who test positive for illicit drug use. However, employees who are medical cannabis users cannot be punished for off-duty cannabis use. Employee protection rights also prevent employers from sanctioning employees for detectable levels of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites if they are not under the influence while on duty. Since recreational marijuana is illegal in Arkansas, employers can punish employees for recreational marijuana use if it affects their performance at work.

Arkansas established its drug-free workplace program to comply with Act 1552 of 1999. The program encourages employers to implement drug-free workplace policies by providing potential discounts on workers' compensation premiums. Such employers must meet the program requirements, which include creating written policies that confirms their position to maintain drug-free workplaces. Employers must also notify their employees and job applicants of their drug-free workplace policies.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Arkansas?

Employers in Arkansas can legally test employees for amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, opiates (codeine, morphine, heroin), and PCP (phencyclidine). The types of marijuana tests that employers with drug-free workplace policies in the state can conduct include the following:

  • Reasonable Suspicion Testing - Reasonable suspicion includes facts, observations, or unusual behaviors that may be valid reasons for employees to submit for drug testing
  • Job Application Testing - Job applicants with conditional offers of employment are required to submit to drug testing. Employers may decide not to hire applicants who fail or refuse drug tests
  • Routine Fitness-for-Duty Testing - Employees may be required to submit to scheduled drug testing periodically if it is in their employers’ drug-free workplace policies
  • Follow-up Drug Testing - If required by an employer, an employee in a mandatory drug rehabilitation program must submit to drug testing as a follow-up on the program. Such tests must occur at least once a year for 2 years after the successful completion of the drug rehabilitation program
  • Post-Accident Testing - Arkansas drug testing laws require employers to conduct drug tests if employees are involved in workplace accidents that result in injuries and/or property damage to determine whether drug use was responsible for such incidents

In Arkansas, employers can collect tissues, fluids, or other bodily products for marijuana testing, like blood, hair follicles, urine, and saliva.

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Arkansas?

Yes. Employers with drug-free workplace policies can conduct random drug testing in Arkansas under Section V of AWCC Rule 099.36. This type of drug test is exclusively conducted on employees in safety-sensitive positions/roles. Arkansas laws require employers to notify employees of drug testing within 32 hours of their intention to subject them to random drug testing.

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

In Arkansas, employees who fail drug tests may be discharged or disciplined by their employers. The consequences of an employee failing a mandated workplace drug test include work suspension, employment termination, and participation in rehabilitation programs. Employees who fail drug tests may contest or clarify the test result to the medical review officer within 5 days of getting a written notification of the test results.

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

Yes, employees can be fired for refusing a drug test in Arkansas. No state laws permit such employees to contest their employers’ decisions to terminate their employment for refusing workplace drug tests.

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

Arkansas provides some protections for medical marijuana cardholders who fail drug tests in their workplaces. Employees who are medical marijuana cardholders cannot be fired for positive drug tests if they are not under the influence of marijuana or use marijuana products at the workplace. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against job applicants with medical marijuana cards.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Arkansas?

The Arkansas drug-free workplace program regulations do not authorize the drug testing of job applicants during the interview stage. Employers can only conduct drug tests on job applicants as a pre-employment condition that they pass the tests before resuming work.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Arkansas?

Arkansas pre-employment drug test laws allow employers to test applicants for drugs if they have been offered employment but have yet to resume work pending the drug test results. Upon a conditional offer of employment, the state mandates an employer with a drug-free workplace program to drug test an employee. However, employers may conduct limited pre-employment drug testing on a reasonable classification basis. For instance, an employer may decide to conduct drug tests for only applicants hired for safety-sensitive positions, like heavy machinery operators or healthcare professionals. Arkansas laws allow employers with drug-free workplace programs to conduct pre-employment drug testing regardless of reasonable suspicion of drug use by applicants.

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

Arkansas drug testing laws apply to both private and public sector employees in the state. However, drug testing for public employees in the state is limited to the provisions of state and federal laws. For instance, routine fitness-for-duty drug testing is required for only the following public employees:

  1. Police or peace officers
  2. Employees who carry out drug interdiction duties
  3. Employees who carry firearms on the job
  4. Employees involved in activities that directly affect the safety of other people
  5. Employees who are directly involved with inmates in the custody of the Arkansas Department of Corrections
  6. Employees of the Department of Human Services who work directly with minors who have been adjudicated delinquent or require supervision while in custody

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Arkansas allows employers in the state to establish drug-free workplace policies. However, such policies must adhere to the provisions of the state’s drug-free workplace laws, as provided in AWCC Rule 099.36. Some requirements that an employer in Arkansas must meet to enact a drug-free workplace policy are:

  • Submit a completed Application for Voluntary Drug-Free Workplace Program form to the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission
  • Provide a one-time written policy statement to all employees and job applicants at least 60 days before enacting the drug-free workplace policy
  • Adhere to the standards and procedures established by the AWCC to enact and maintain a drug-free workplace program
  • Provide educational materials that contain the requirements and procedures of the drug-free workplace policies to employees

Employees Exempted From Arkansas Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Although Arkansas drug testing laws do not specify workers who are exempted from drug testing, the state enforces such laws in compliance with federal regulations. Hence, federal employees may be exempted from the state’s drug testing laws.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Arkansas?

Employees must use certified drug testing labs in Arkansas to conduct drug tests on employees and job applicants. Drug testing labs must meet the following requirements specified in Section VII of AWCC Rule 099.36:

In addition to these requirements, drug testing labs that conduct confirmation tests must be licensed by either the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or the College of American Pathologists forensic urine testing programs. The Arkansas Department of Health certifies eligible drug testing laboratories and may charge up to $2,000 for the license.

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