Indiana Drug Testing Laws 2024

Indiana Drug Testing Laws 2024

Indiana remains one of few states yet to legalize cannabis. Therefore, it has very few laws that protect employees from off-duty cannabis use. For example, even though Indiana Code 22-9-5 protects employees with a history of substance abuse and other similar disabilities from discrimination in the workplace, it also permits employers with at least 15 employees to implement drug testing programs to ensure that such employees no longer use these substances.

Similarly, IC 12-17.2-3.5-12.1 and IC 4-13-18 mandate drug testing for employees of childcare providers and public works contractors and authorize employers to dismiss employees whose drug test results show detectable levels of cannabis metabolites. Indiana has no legal provisions allowing municipalities to enact ordinances separate from the state's laws on workplace drug testing. State laws generally supersede local ordinances when it comes to workplace drug testing.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Indiana?

There are no restrictions to the kinds of drug tests that Indiana-based employers can conduct. Employers in the state can test prospective and current employees for meth, amphetamines, PCP, cocaine, opioids (like heroin, fentanyl, methadone, oxycodone, and morphine), barbiturates, marijuana, and other controlled substances. When it comes to marijuana testing, employers typically check for THC metabolites.

The most common types of drug tests that Indiana-based employers who choose to implement drug-free workplace programs conduct are:

  • Reasonable Suspicion Tests: These are usually conducted if the employer observes abnormal behavior that causes suspicion of drug use or directly observes the employee using marijuana or other controlled substances during work hours
  • Random Tests: These are usually done year-round without prior notice, and tested employees are randomly selected through a fair and non-discriminatory process
  • Post-accident Tests: These are done to rule out marijuana and other controlled substances as a causative factor for workplace accidents and injuries
  • Pre-employment Tests: These are usually conducted on applicants who have received job offers
  • Probationary Tests: These are conducted on employees who return to work after completing a rehab program. Probationary tests are unannounced and conducted over a predetermined period

Employees are usually required to provide urine samples for drug tests in Indiana. However, saliva, blood, and even hair samples may also be collected.

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Indiana?

Yes, employers in Indiana can do random drug testing on their employees. Per IC 22-9-5-24, Indiana-based employers with at least 15 employees can prohibit their employees from using or working under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs in the workplace. This law does not restrict how an employer can choose to enforce their drug-free workplace policies, and many employers utilize random drug testing of employees as one method of doing so. Employers are also not obligated to notify employees before conducting random drug tests. Public works contractors are required to include random drug testing as part of their drug-free workplace programs and conduct sporadic unscheduled tests for any employee who fails it for at least one year if they are reinstated to duty.

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

The consequences of failing a drug test in Indiana are mostly determined by the employer’s workplace drug policy. These penalties can include the following:

  • Mandatory enrollment in rehab programs and treatment centers
  • Unscheduled sporadic drug tests for a predetermined period
  • Suspension or immediate termination (this penalty is mandatory for employees of childcare providers)
  • Loss of workers’ compensation benefits

While there is very little protection for employees who fail drug tests in Indiana, you should consider consulting a licensed attorney in situations where:

  • The employer failed to communicate their workplace drug policy before hiring
  • The employer’s workplace drug policy is discriminatory or unreasonable
  • You feel unfairly targeted by the drug test
  • The drug test procedure violates your privacy

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

Yes, you can be fired for refusing a drug test in Indiana. Indiana is generally considered an "employment at will" state. As such, employers can fire employees for several reasons, such as refusing to take drug tests. In fact, certain employers, such as childcare providers, are legally required to either suspend or fire employees who refuse to take drug tests.

Nonetheless, employers are usually expected to have established workplace drug programs/policies in place and communicate the requirements of such programs to employees, either during the recruitment process or after offering them jobs. Employees have the right to privacy, non-discrimination, confidentiality, and non-harassment with regard to how drug tests are conducted and how the results of these tests are handled. Any employee who feels that the circumstance involving their job termination violated any of these rights can reach out to a licensed employment attorney for guidance on the appropriate steps to contest it.

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

Considering that medical cannabis is still illegal in Indiana, residents and non-residents alike cannot obtain medical cards in the state. As such, there are no restrictions on employers for marijuana testing. Employees or job seekers with detectable levels of THC metabolites in their systems can face outright termination, job offer rescissions, or any other sanctions stipulated in their employer’s workplace drug policy.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Indiana?

There are currently no specific laws restricting Indiana-based employers from asking job applicants to undergo drug testing as part of the recruitment process. However, while employers are free to decide their workplace drug test protocols, they are expected to adequately inform job applicants about these testing requirements in advance and get their consent. The employer’s drug policy and test protocols should also be fair, unbiased, and applied uniformly to all applicants without discrimination. In situations where an applicant refuses to submit to drug testing, the employer reserves the right to take any action they deem necessary.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Indiana?

Even though there are no Indiana pre-employment drug testing laws, employers in the state may require job applicants to pass a drug test as a condition of their employment and assumption of duty. Pre-employment drug testing is usually standard among childcare employees, private healthcare employees, and individuals seeking jobs in Test Designated Positions, like law enforcement officers, state prosecutors, and roles with direct access to controlled substances.

Employers with workplace drug policies that include pre-employment drug testing as a condition of employment are generally required to communicate this requirement to prospective employees. They also have to ensure that their test protocols are implemented fairly and consistently among all involved parties.

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

In Indiana, laws and regulations concerning drug testing apply to private and public employers. As such, public agencies can submit their employees to workplace drug tests, and many state (and municipal) agencies do so. For instance, the Indiana State Personnel Department (INSPD) maintains a drug and alcohol testing policy. The policy establishes protocols and procedures for pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, and post-accident drug testing of employees with Commercial Driver Licenses and ones in Testing Designated Positions and other similar positions. Employees in state and local agencies who fail drug tests will also be subject to the sanctions stated in their respective employers’ policies, as is the case with private employees.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Per the provisions of IC 22-9-5, employers with at least 15 employees can create drug-free workplace policies to prohibit the use of illegal drugs and alcohol at the workplace. Employers who choose to create a drug-free workplace policy are also allowed to conduct drug testing on employees and make appropriate employment-related decisions based on the results of drug tests. Generally, an employer’s policy is expected to comply with federal regulations and requirements concerning alcohol and illegal drug use in the workplace.

Employees Exempted From Indiana Workplace Drug Testing Laws

While Indiana-based employers can decide whether or not to conduct drug tests on their employees, these tests are statutorily mandated for employees of childcare service providers and public works contractors. Similarly, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, the Department of Transportation, and safety and security-sensitive organizations like the Department of Defense and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission typically have mandatory drug testing requirements for their employees, regardless of their office location.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Indiana?

There are no laws stating the kinds of drug testing labs employers in Indiana may contract to conduct drug tests on their current and prospective employees. Nevertheless, using a testing lab accredited by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) is always a good idea. SAMHSA accreditation is considered the highest standard in drug lab testing. Contracting the services of these labs assures an employer of the accuracy of the test results.

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