The Washington Senate voted 28-21 in favor of a bill on Wednesday that would block employers in the state from refusing to hire someone because they tested positive for cannabis on a drug test, the Seattle Times reports.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Karen Keiser (D), introduced a similar bill last year but the proposal never reached the floor for consideration. The proposal moves next to the Washington House of Representatives.
The Senate-approved ban would not apply to positions where on-duty impairment could carry “substantial risk of death,” such as in the airline and aerospace industries. Other positions that are exempt from the ban include those which require federal background checks or security clearances, the report said. Additionally, the bill only applies to drug tests performed during the hiring process and would not affect employers’ ability to drug test current employees.
“If your employer wants to test you every week after you’re hired, they’re still able to do that. This is simply opening the front door of getting into a job. Because too many people who see that they have to take a drug test to even apply, don’t even apply.” — Keiser, via the Seattle Times
Sen. Derek Stanford (D) — one of the bill’s co-sponsors — told KOMO News that, ”When people are using legal substances like cannabis away from work, we don’t think that should be a barrier to just applying for the job.”
In 2019, Nevada became the first state to prohibit employers from drug testing applicants for cannabis use during pre-employment.
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