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Drug Testing in Illinois

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on May 25, 2012.

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Drug testing by employers in Illinois is governed by these state rules.

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, general drug testing provisions are applicable to private employers employing 15 or more employees within Illinois.

It is not a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act for an employer to adopt or administer reasonable policies or procedures, including but not limited to drug testing, designed to ensure that an individual is no longer engaging in the illegal use of drugs.

For purposes of Illinois' drug testing law, a test to determine the illegal use of drugs cannot be considered a medical examination.

Nothing may be construed to encourage, prohibit, or authorize the conducting of drug testing for the illegal use of drugs by job applicants or employees or making employment decisions based on the test results.

Permitted Drug Testing

An employer has the right to:

  • prohibit the illegal use of drugs and the use of alcohol at the workplace by all employees
  • require that employees not be under the influence of alcohol or be engaging in the illegal use of drugs at the workplace
  • require that employees behave in conformance with the requirements established under the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the state Drug Free Workplace Act
  • hold an employee who engages in the illegal use of drugs or who is an alcoholic to the same qualification standards for employment or job performance and behavior that the employer holds other employees, even if any unsatisfactory performance or behavior is related to the drug use or alcoholism of the employee

Employers may require that, with respect to federal regulations regarding alcohol and the illegal use of drugs:

  • employees comply with the standards established in the regulations of the United States Department of Defense, if the employees of the employer are employed in an industry subject to the regulations
  • employees comply with the standards established in the regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, if the employees of the employer are employed in an industry subject to the regulations
  • employees comply with the standards established in the regulations of the United States Department of Transportation, if the employees of the employer are employed in a transportation industry subject to the regulations

Special rules apply for employers with public works contracts.

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, the term "handicap" cannot be applied to include any employee or applicant currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs, when an employer acts on the basis of such use.

However, the above does not apply to circumstances where an employee or applicant for employment:

  • has successfully completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program and is no longer engaging in the illegal use of drugs, or has otherwise been rehabilitated successfully and is no longer engaging in the use
  • is participating in a supervised rehabilitation program and is no longer engaging in the use
  • is erroneously regarded as engaging in the use, but is not engaging in such use

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