The Maine Department of Labor announced July 29, 2014 that it seeks the input of Maine businesses and other organizations regarding the current state law governing drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. Businesses interested in participating in the survey must contact the department to receive a survey invitation; invitations are limited to one per business or organization.
During the last legislative session, the department proposed LD 1669, “An Act To Standardize and Simplify the Process for Employers to Provide a Drug-free Workplace,” which did not pass; however, during the discussions, a number of issues were raised concerning drug testing in the workplace. As a result, the department seeks feedback to formulate future changes to the law and its rules to address employer and employee concerns. Governor Paul R. LePage stated: “The department wants to make the right changes to ensure that employers and their customers, other employees and equipment are protected from dangerous situations. This survey will help them do that. I encourage all employers, whether they drug test or not, to participate in this survey.”
The department has solicited participation in the survey from all employers with approved drug testing policies, insurance providers and organizations with a relationship to the issue, including medical marijuana organizations and providers. Those interested in taking the survey should e-mail Mark Dawson, firstname.lastname@example.org, in the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards. The online survey takes about 30 minutes to answer. It asks questions about different provisions of the law and asks for suggested changes. The survey will be available online through August 15, 2014.
Maine’s drug testing law differs from most other state drug testing laws because: it requires employers to obtain approval of their written testing policies from the state department of labor before any testing may be conducted (and, employers are required to obtain employee “feedback” before submitting the policy for approval); it requires employers with 20 or more employees to have a state-certified Employee Assistance Program; it fully exempts employers who have any employees subject to federal drug testing regulations; post-accident testing is prohibited after a first work-related accident; and, employers with 20 or more employees are required to split the cost of substance abuse rehabilitation with an employee who has tested positive (unless the costs are covered by a group health insurance plan). The Maine drug testing law also has very severe civil penalties and remedies for violations of the law.