Alabama Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Alabama Drug Testing Laws 2024

Alabama permits employers to conduct workplace drug tests under the state’s Drug-free Workplace Law. In 2021, the Darren Wesley “Ato” Hall Compassion Act legalized medical cannabis for qualifying patients in Alabama. However, the Act does not protect registered medical marijuana patients against the consequences of drug testing policies implemented by employers. Employers can penalize workers for off-duty cannabis use based on positive drug test results. Cities and counties in Alabama can also develop drug-free workplace regulations, but they must be in line with the state and federal laws. The Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 mandates all employers receiving federal grants or contracts in Alabama to create drug testing policies.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Alabama?

In Alabama, employers can conduct cannabis drug tests to screen employees or job applicants for the presence of THC metabolites in their system. Workplace drug tests in the state can also screen for the presence of cocaine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, phencyclidine, opiates, methadone, and barbiturates. To conduct marijuana drug tests, Alabama employers can collect saliva, urine, blood, or hair samples from their employees. According to Alabama Code § 25-5-335, employers can conduct drug tests under various circumstances:

  • After offering employment to job applicants
  • After workplace accidents
  • Whenever the company’s manager or supervisor has reasonable suspicion of illicit substance use or abuse by employees
  • After employees complete substance abuse/rehabilitation programs
  • During routine fitness-for-duty medical examinations

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Alabama?

Yes, doing random drug testing on employees is permitted in Alabama. However, employers must include this in their drug testing policies. In addition, employers must notify employees at least 60 days before starting random drug tests.

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

Failing workplace drug tests in Alabama may result in employee termination, suspension, or probation. Employers may also refer affected employees to substance abuse programs. Generally, Alabama requires employers to state the consequences of failing drug tests in their drug-free workplace policies.

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

Yes. In Alabama, an employee can be fired for refusing a drug test provided it is stated in their employer's drug testing policy. After termination, the employee has five days to contest the employer's decision by taking the following steps:

  • Seek legal advice from an employment attorney
  • Review employment contracts and company policies
  • Review whether the employer violates the Alabama Drug-free Workplace Program law
  • Gather evidence related to the termination, including the drug testing procedures or any other relevant documentation
  • Use alternative dispute resolution processes, if available
  • If there was any violation of legal rights, the employee can file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • File a lawsuit against the employer

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

Yes. Medical marijuana patients in Alabama are subject to drug testing policies maintained by their employers. The state’s medical marijuana law allows employers to adopt policies that mandate employees to disclose if they possess medical marijuana cards. It also permits them to terminate, refuse to hire, or discipline medical marijuana cardholders who fail cannabis drug tests.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Alabama?

Yes, Alabama allows employers to conduct drug tests on job applicants. Workplace drug tests conducted during the interviewing stage may include urinalysis, blood, hair, or saliva tests. Employers may refuse to hire applicants who fail drug tests. Per Alabama Code § 25-5-334(c), employers must include information about drug testing policies in job postings. Copies of the company’s drug-free policies must also be available to job applicants during regular business hours.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Alabama?

Employers in Alabama can conduct drug tests on individuals given new job offers. Alabama pre-employment drug testing laws vary among employers, and applicants should be aware of an employer's drug testing policies during the hiring process. Some employers carry out drug tests on job applicants only after reasonable suspicion, while others request drug tests on all employees before starting work.

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

Alabama drug testing laws cover all employers, including public agencies in the state. Some public agencies, especially safety-sensitive organizations, have stringent drug-free testing policies for their workers.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Yes, employers in Alabama can create and enforce drug-free workplace policies. Alabama law offers a 5% insurance discount incentive for employers who establish and implement policies aimed at promoting a drug-free workplace. To enact drug-free workplace policies, employers in Alabama must do the following:

  • Create comprehensive written drug-free workplace policies that outline the expectations, prohibited behaviors, and consequences for violating the policy
  • Provide education and training programs to employees
  • Establish drug testing procedures, including pre-employment testing, random testing, and testing under reasonable suspicion
  • Follow specific guidelines to ensure fairness and legality in the testing process
  • Emphasize the confidentiality of employee drug test results and related information
  • Ensure that drug-free workplace programs comply with the requirements outlined in the Alabama Code

In Alabama, an employer’s drug testing policy must contain the following elements:

  • A written policy statement, which includes a one-time notice of testing to employees and job applicants before the drug test commences
  • Approved workplace drug tests
  • Employee assistance programs to help workers with personal or behavioral problems
  • Employee education programs on substance abuse
  • Supervisor training

Employees Exempted From Alabama Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Alabama's drug testing laws do not apply to all federal employees in the state. Such employees are only subject to federal drug testing regulations, which may differ from state laws. Federal agencies often have different drug testing policies and procedures that apply to employees under their jurisdiction. Federal drug testing regulations also take precedence for commercial truck drivers, law enforcement officials, and other safety-sensitive jobs.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Alabama?

Employers in Alabama can conduct workplace drug testing only in laboratories approved by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) or the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). According to Alabama Code § 25-5-335(d), certified drug testing laboratories must:

  • Have written procedures for tracking and analyzing specimens to ensure integrity and prevent tampering
  • Implement proper quality control procedures
  • Regularly check the performance and calibration of testing equipment
  • Have qualified personnel responsible for reviewing and certifying drug test results
  • Have security measures in place to prevent specimen adulteration and manipulation of drug test results
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