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Massachusetts State Drug Testing Laws

Workplace Drug Testing Issues – Massachusetts State Laws

These categories do not affect DOT-regulated drug testing. Government employers should always call for potential additional restrictions on employee drug testing.

Deny Unemployment claims – Chapter 151A Section 25

Drug Testing IssueStatusComments
Instant or POCT TestingNo restrictions 
Drug PanelsNo restrictions 
LaboratoryNo restrictions 
Random TestingRestrictedLimit to safety-sensitive or security-sensitive position.
Post-AccidentRestrictionsMassachusetts employers should only conduct post-accident drug testing when they believe the individual caused or contributed to the accident.
Reasonable SuspicionNo restrictions 
Oral FluidsNo restrictions 
Hair TestingNo restrictions 
Unemployment DenialYesChapter 151A Section 25 – Disqualification of benefits when the employee discharged for deliberate misconduct consisting of: (i) stealing from such employee’s place of employment; (ii) illegal drug use while at work; or (iii) drunkenness while at work shall be determined to be ineligible for benefits without regard to whether or not the employer had a written policy against such conduct.
Workers Comp DiscountNo 
Intoxication DefenseMaybeNo current statute or case law addressing Workers’ Compensation/Denial after a positive drug or alcohol test after an accident.
Medical MarijuanaYesNothing in the law requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of employment.
Recreational MarijuanaYesPassed November 2016, the law does not affect employer’s rights to enact and enforce workplace policies restricting the consumption of marijuana by employees.
Report Driver DOT PositivesNo 
General Statute Massachusetts legislation does not address drug testing in private employment. Case law limits random testing – the validity of an employer’s policy of random drug testing had to be weighed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the employee’s job responsibilities and the employer’s interests.

Regarding medical marijuana, Massachusetts is a state with explicit employee protection:

  • there is nothing in this law that requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of employment; (law silent on off-duty use)
  • no punishment under state law for qualifying patients;” provides “protection from state prosecution and penalties
  • any person meeting the requirements under this law shall not be penalized under Massachusetts law in any manner or denied any right or privilege for such actions

Intoxication Defense – Denial of Workers Compensation Claim – States vary in their willingness to allow employers to use an injured worker’s intoxication against a compensation claim. State laws’ intoxication defenses generally fall into one of three rough categories: reasons that do not depend on causation; defenses that require some form of proximate causation between intoxication and injury; and defenses that require that intoxication be the sole cause of injury. Always check with your insurance company and attorney when you have a positive post-accident test after an injury.

This chart is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal guidance. State and local law vary greatly; therefore, you are advised to consult experienced legal counsel during the design of your actual substance abuse testing program and with any questions that follow.

View Individual State Law Summaries

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