Wisconsin Drug Testing Laws 2024

Wisconsin Drug Testing Laws 2024

No Wisconsin law permits or prohibits employers from conducting drug tests on employees. However, employers who are eligible for federal grants of any amount must establish drug-free workplace policies. The United States Drug-Free Workplace Act also makes drug-free policies compulsory for Wisconsin employers receiving federal contracts of at least $100,000.

County and city departments in Wisconsin may be required to comply with local drug testing ordinances. Medical and recreational marijuana are illegal in Wisconsin. As a result, employers can establish drug testing policies to refuse hiring cannabis users who fail drug tests.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin employers often conduct 5-panel drug tests to screen for marijuana, opiates, cocaine, phencyclidine, and amphetamines. Employers may also conduct 9 to 16-panel drug tests to include screening for more controlled substances. Generally, employers should provide written drug policies that show the drug testing procedures and samples required from workers. Although urine drug testing is common in Wisconsin, employers may also collect hair, blood, and saliva as specimens for drug testing. Employers can conduct drug tests for different reasons, including the following:

  • Pre-employment Test: Wisconsin employers can conduct this test for new employees before they resume work
  • Post-accident Test: This drug test is conducted after a workplace accident to determine if cannabis use played a role in such an accident
  • Reasonable Suspicion Test: Employers may set up drug tests on reasonable suspicion that workers consume cannabis at work or are under the influence of other controlled substances
  • Post-rehabilitation Test: This is conducted on employees after completing substance abuse programs
  • Fitness assessment Test: Employers can carry out this drug test on employees or job applicants in specific job roles
  • Random Test: This drug test may occur unannounced or at scheduled times to uphold a consistent commitment to employers' drug-free workplaces

Workers and prospective employees should review and consent to the company's drug testing rules before taking the tests.

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Wisconsin?

Yes, Wisconsin employers may include random drug testing in their drug-free workplace policies. Depending on an employer's rule, random drug testing may occur without prior announcement or at scheduled times. In most cases, employers use computer-generated programs to select employees randomly for this type of drug testing. Clear communication about the random testing policy, its purpose, and the consequences for non-compliance is essential to establish transparency and minimize legal risks.

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

Failing workplace drug tests in Wisconsin can have adverse consequences, which must be stated in the employer's drug testing policy. Employers can make one or more of the following decisions:

  • Decline job offer: Employers with strict drug-free workplace policies can refuse to hire prospective employees who fail drug tests
  • Suspension: In some instances, employers might impose temporary suspensions or probationary periods for employees who fail drug tests, allowing them a chance to address the issue
  • Recommend rehab or other substance abuse programs: Certain long-serving employees may be eligible for employers' drug rehabilitation opportunities. Some employers may recommend employee drug education or awareness for first-time violators
  • Employment Termination: Many employers have policies that allow them to terminate employees who violate drug-free workplace rules
  • Withdrawal of employee benefits: According to Wisconsin Statute 102.58(2), employees who fail post-accident drug tests are ineligible for compensation or death benefits. Failing pre-employment drug tests may also lead to loss of unemployment benefits in Wisconsin

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

Yes. Refusing Wisconsin drug tests can lead to employee termination. Employees who believe they were wrongly discharged from their jobs can take the following steps to dispute such a decision:

  • Review the company's employee handbook: Refer to the company's employee handbook for information on the drug testing process, consequences for refusal, and any appeal or grievance procedures outlined by the employer
  • Discuss the decision with HR: Give the company's HR viable reasons for refusing drug tests. Some companies may allow employees to request confirmation tests
  • Contact a legal counsel: If internal processes do not lead to a resolution, consider seeking legal advice. An employment attorney in Wisconsin can assess the situation, provide guidance, and assist in taking further legal action if necessary
  • File a complaint with relevant state or federal agencies: The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) allow employees to file complaints regarding wrongful termination
  • File a lawsuit: If the termination still seems unjust, file an appeal with the employer, following the designated procedures outlined in company policies. Present any evidence or documentation that supports your case

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

Medical marijuana is illegal in Wisconsin. Employers may create drug testing rules to fire employees or refuse to hire applicants who fail drug tests for marijuana.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Wisconsin?

Yes, Wisconsin does not prohibit employers from conducting drug tests for prospective employees. To avoid discrimination claims, employers must provide job applicants with written drug screening guidelines before conducting such drug tests. The drug screening guidelines should cover the types of drug tests, procedures, and consequences for refusing drug tests or testing positive.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin employers can include pre-employment drug tests in their drug-free workplace regulations even though no pre-employment drug testing laws exist in the state.

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

Public and private organizations in Wisconsin have the discretion to submit their employees to workplace drug tests. Wisconsin does not provide workplace protections for public employees who violate their employers' drug testing policies.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

In Wisconsin, employers can create drug-free workplace policies to restrict the consumption of psychoactive drugs that can affect employees' performances. While establishing these policies, employers should bear the following in mind:

  • Provide drug testing policy handbooks to employees and job applicants
  • Create employee awareness programs and education
  • Offer drug training to supervisors before conducting tests due to reasonable suspicion
  • Maintain specific confidentiality regarding employees' drug testing results

Employees Exempted From Wisconsin Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Wisconsin does not have workplace drug testing laws. However, some employees are subject to federal drug-free workplace laws. For instance, the Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates specific drug testing for Wisconsin employees in safety-sensitive positions. Such employees include bus drivers, truck drivers, railroad workers, and pilots.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Wisconsin?

Employers in Wisconsin must conduct drug tests in laboratories certified by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). These laboratories maintain drug test precision by implementing quality control measures. They also have medical review officers to review and analyze drug tests for accuracy.

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