Nebraska Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Nebraska Drug Testing Laws 2024

The scope of the Nebraska Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act is covered in Sections 48-1901 to 48-1910 of the state's Revised Statutes. The state's drug testing laws outline the types of drug tests employers can conduct and the conditions under which employers can require or request drug tests. As of 2024, marijuana is illegal for medical or recreational purposes in Nebraska. Therefore, employers can punish employees for on- and off-duty use of cannabis. However, the results of tests conducted on employees to determine the presence of drugs may not be used by employers to take adverse actions unless certain requirements are met.

The Nebraska Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act does not apply to employers with fewer than six full-time employees. It was enacted in 1988 by a unanimous vote and later amended in 2010. The state's drug testing law does not mandate any private employer to drug test their employees but focuses primarily on testing procedures. However, employers are encouraged to create drug-free workplace policies to help maintain drug-free work environments while protecting employees' rights in Nebraska. Any employer who conducts workplace drug testing in the state must adhere to all mandated guidelines in the Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, employers may test employees for drugs (and any metabolite form) described in Section 28-405 and Section 28-419 of the state's Revised Statute. These include marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), opiates, and cocaine. The state's Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act does not specify which specimens can be used for workplace drug testing. However, employers are not restricted from using any of the major samples used for drug testing. These include hair, blood, saliva, and urine. The kinds of drug tests Nebraska employers can conduct are also not explicitly stipulated in the state's workplace drug testing law. However, employers are not prohibited from performing the following types of tests on employees for work-related purposes, provided the tests comply with guidelines in Section 48-1907 of the state's Revised Statute:

  • Reasonable Suspicion Drug Test - Employees who show clear signs of inability to perform their job roles, such as suspected cannabis impairment, may be subjected to this test
  • Pre-Employment Drug Test - This can be conducted on job candidates as a condition for hiring them
  • Random Drug Test -This type of test is performed using a random selection process and subjecting selected employees to drug tests
  • Post-accident Drug Test - This is used to determine whether or not drug use was directly or indirectly responsible for a work-related accident

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Nebraska?

While not expressly stated in the state's workplace drug testing law, Nebraska employers may choose to randomly subject employees to drug testing. Most employers will adopt this when there is a reasonable cause or suspicion that an employee is working under the influence of an illicit drug. However, like other drug tests, random drug testing in the workplace must be done according to state guidelines on workplace drug testing.

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

Failing a workplace drug test in Nebraska can result in varying disciplinary actions, including employment termination. The gravity of the punishment meted out on an employee who tests positive for a workplace drug test depends on the employer but in adherence to state guidelines on drug testing.

Per Section 48-1903 of the Nebraska Revised Statute, an employer may only use the result of a workplace drug test to discipline or fire an employer if the requirement below is met:

  • A positive result of drugs by preliminary drug screening procedures has been further confirmed by gas chemotherapy-mass spectrometry or any other scientific testing method authorized by the state's Department of Health and Human Services

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

Yes. Per Section 48-1920 of the Nebraska Revised Statute, an employee may subject any employee who refuses a mandatory workplace drug test to administrative or disciplinary action, including employment termination. Failure or delay to provide the required sample for a drug test or execute a consent form when requested is considered a refusal to submit to drug tests in Nebraska and can be grounds for layoff. Employees fired for refusing drug tests in Nebraska may have no right to challenge their employers' decisions as the state's drug testing law makes no explicit provisions for that.

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

Medical cannabis is illegal in Nebraska, and there are no specific workplace drug testing laws regarding medical marijuana in the state. While the state's drug testing laws provide certain protections for employees' rights, failing a drug test for marijuana may attract severe disciplinary actions, including dismissal from work. Similarly, if someone seeking employment from a Nebraska employer tests positive for cannabis, the employer may refuse to hire them based on their test result.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Nebraska?

While workplace drug testing is not mandated in Nebraska, employers who want to maintain drug-free workplaces in the state may opt to drug test job candidates at the interview stage. No state law prohibits them from screening job applicants for illicit drugs as long as no other state law is violated. Conducting drug tests on job applicants will help an employer to determine if any job candidate is using illicit drugs or identify recent use of drugs.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Nebraska?

While there are no specific pre-employment drug testing laws in Nebraska, employers in the state are not restricted from testing new hires for drugs before resuming work. However, when a pre-employment drug test is required, an employer must have extended conditional offers to job applicants. If a new hire fails a pre-employment drug test, the employer may deem the employee as failing to meet the conditions of employment and may rescind the employment offer.

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

Yes, public agencies in Nebraska may require employees on their payroll to submit to workplace drug tests. The state's drug testing law largely applies to public-sector employers. Several public agencies in Nebraska have adopted workplace drug policies that include employee drug testing arrangements. For instance, the Nevada Judicial Branch has a Drug-Free Workplace Policy with which all its officers and employees must comply as a condition of continued employment. Similarly, the Central City College in the state adopted a Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy to help maintain a drug-free environment for employees and students. In 2017, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a memorandum to all the directors of public agencies in the state to remind state employees of the need for compliance with the state’s drug-free workplace policy.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Although not mandated, Nebraska employers can freely establish their own drug-free workplace policies to ensure the employment environment is safe and provide adequate motivation to ensure a productive workforce. However, as a general rule, an employer should bargain with the union representatives of its employees before establishing and implementing a drug-free workplace drug policy and, subsequently, drug testing. Doing this will prevent potential liability for unfair labor practices. Any private employer with at least six employees can establish a drug-free workplace policy.

In Nebraska, an employer must comply with certain procedures in order to implement a drug-free workplace policy. They include the following:

  • All employees and new hires must be given a copy of the employer's drug-free workplace policy. Each employee must sign the document and date a statement that they have read and understood the policy
  • The employer's drug-free workplace policy must meet the requirements of state policy and federal law
  • The document must contain a statement describing the disciplinary action the employer will take on any employee who violates the drug-free workplace policy
  • The employer must provide drug awareness training training for all its current employees while making sure to train new hires within the first 6 months of employment. Such training should provide information such as the definition of drug abuse and the dangers of drug abuse in the workplace. It should also include information on specific drugs and the impacts of drug abuse, as well as the availability of drug counseling and treatment services

Employees Exempted From Nebraska Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Nebraska has a workplace drug testing law, but employers, especially those in the private sector, are not mandated to conduct drug tests on employees. However, employees in safety-sensitive roles are generally required to comply with their employers' drug testing policies. These include employees working in law enforcement agencies, aviation administration, the transportation industry, and railroad administration.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, all workplace drug tests and confirmatory tests must be administered by a hospital, clinic, or laboratory licensed under the Federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act of 1967. Those accredited by the College of American Pathologists may also be contracted for drug testing in the state. When collecting employees' specimens for drug testing, state law requires labs to split such samples into two vials. The primary vial is used for the initial screenings. Where it returns a positive result, a confirmation test must be conducted on the secondary vial before a lab reports it to the medical review officer (MRO) as a positive test result.

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