Alaska Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Alaska Drug Testing Laws 2024

Alaska does not mandate workplace drug testing. The state laws neither prohibit nor require employers to conduct drug tests on their employees. Nonetheless, Alaska Statutes, Section 23.10.600, protects employers from litigation for establishing drug testing policies. Similarly, Alaska Statutes 17.38.200 (Alaska Regulation of Marijuana Act) and AS 17.37 (Alaska Medical Use of Marijuana Act) acknowledge the rights of employers to maintain drug-free workplaces. Municipalities in the state may enact drug testing laws in their jurisdictions.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Alaska?

Alaska allows employers to test for all controlled substances, as listed in the Alaska Controlled Substance Act, including cocaine, marijuana, fentanyl, methamphetamine, amphetamine, dopamine, and PCP. Employers can test for the presence of THC metabolites in employees’ urine samples as stipulated in AS 23.10.699.

The different kinds of workplace drug testing in Alaska include:

  • Pre-employment Test: Applicants are subjected to drug tests as a pre-condition for employment. Most employers limit the test to those who have been offered employment and the test is the final screening process
  • Random Test: This test is done without prior notice given to employees. The selection of employees to be tested must be without bias or discrimination
  • Reasonable Suspicion Test: This is done if an employee is suspected to be using illegal drugs either as a result of noticeable impairment or documented drug usage
  • Scheduled Test: Employers may schedule drug tests periodically for their employees. The schedule can be biannually, annually, or biennially
  • Post-accident Test: This test is done after a workplace accident, and it is limited to only employees involved in the accident. It is used to determine if marijuana impairment was responsible for a work-related accident
  • Post-rehabilitation/probationary Test: This is done on an employee who is just returning from a probationary period due to drug use or has just completed a drug rehabilitation program

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Alaska?

Yes. Employers in Alaska can conduct random drug tests, provided each employee has an equal chance of being selected, and the company's drug test policy states this. Alaska Statutes, Section 23.10.620 (d), permits random testing of employees by their employers in the state. However, employees must have been given the written drug testing policy at least 30 days before any testing can be done.

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

Alaska law mandates an employer to conduct a confirmatory drug test if an employee fails an initial drug test. If the confirmatory test is also positive and the result is confirmed by a physician, the employer is free to take adverse actions against the employee. Adverse actions can be suspension, mandatory drug training, or termination of employment. However, employers may not take discriminatory actions against registered medical marijuana cardholders solely for testing positive for THC metabolites. Employees can also dispute failed drug tests if they believe they were unfairly targeted or discriminated against by their employers.

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

Yes. Employees who refuse drug tests in Alaska are treated as though they failed the tests and can be fired. However, state law permits an employee to contest the decision if they have a valid reason for refusing to take a workplace drug test. Possible circumstances under which an employee may refuse to take an employer-mandated drug test in Alaska include:

  • A registered Alaska medical marijuana patient might refuse to take a drug test
  • The company's drug test policy is less than 30 days old and has not been properly circulated to employees
  • In cases of random testing, if an employee feels that the selection was biased

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

Medical marijuana patients in Alaska are protected from prosecution and punishment if they consume medical cannabis in their private residences. However, employers can insist on a drug-free work environment in the state. A medical marijuana cardholder will not be fired solely for failing a drug test for cannabis. However, they may be fired if the drug use adversely affects their work or if they are found to have consumed cannabis in their place of employment in contravention of the company’s policy.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Alaska?

Alaska allows employers to conduct drug tests on job applicants. An applicant who fails a drug test can be denied employment. Also, any job applicant who refuses to take a drug test may be denied employment. However, employers are required to inform applicants of the possibility of conducting drug tests as part of the selection process.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Alaska?

Pre-employment drug testing is permitted in Alaska. Employers can test prospective employees with offer letters for drug use before they resume work. However, no Alaska law mandates pre-enrollment drug testing by employers, and it is left to the discretion of employers to conduct pre-enrollment drug tests. Employers must inform prospective employees of the possibility of subjecting them to drug tests before their resumption.

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

Alaska’s drug testing laws apply to both private and public entities. The Alaska Alcohol and Drug-Free Workplace Policy, as published by the Alaska Division of Personnel and Labor Relations, makes provisions for mandatory drug testing policy for certain state employees. Employees of public agencies who fail drug tests can have their employment terminated.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Yes, Alaska employers can create drug-free workplace policies. Alaska Statutes, Section 23.10.620, permits employers to develop policies to ensure drug-free workplaces by adopting written policies for testing and retesting employees for the presence of drugs. The minimum requirement for a drug-free workplace policy in Alaska includes:

  • Employers’ policy statement on drug and alcohol use by employees
  • Description of employees subject to testing
  • Circumstances for testing
  • Description of specimen collection and testing procedure, including an employee’s right to a confirmatory test
  • Consequence of refusal to participate in a drug test
  • Consequence of failing the drug test
  • Right to obtain written test results within five working days after submitting written requests for them
  • Right of an employee to explain a positive result within 72 hours of submitting a written request for the opportunity
  • Employer’s policy statement on the confidentiality of test results

Alaska mandates employers to circulate their drug-free workplace policies to all employees, and employers cannot begin drug testing until 30 days after establishing their drug testing programs.

Employees Exempted From Alaska Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Alaska does not require or prohibit employers from establishing drug testing programs. Employers can choose not to implement a drug-free workplace. Generally, federal employees in the state are subject to federal laws and are exempted from Alaska drug testing laws.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Alaska?

In Alaska, workplace drug tests may be done on-site by trained drug test administrators or by certified laboratories. Laboratories approved to conduct drug tests in Alaska must be certified by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), American Association of Clinical Chemists, or Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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