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Drug Testing in Rhode Island

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

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Drug testing by employers in Rhode Island is governed by these state rules.

Different rules relating to drug testing apply for applicants and employees.

Job Applicant Drug Testing

An employer may require a job applicant to submit to blood or urine testing if:

  • the job applicant has been given an offer of employment conditioned on the applicant's receiving a negative test result;
  • the applicant provides the test sample in private, outside the presence of any person; and
  • positive tests are confirmed by means of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry or technology recognized as being at least as scientifically accurate.

Employee Drug Testing

An employer in Rhode Island may not, either orally or in writing, request, require or subject an employee to submit a sample of the employee's urine, blood or other bodily fluid or tissue for testing as a condition of continued employment.

An employer may, however, require a specific employee to submit to such testing if the following requirements are met:

  • The employer has reasonable grounds to believe, based on specific objective facts, that the employee's use of controlled substances is impairing the employee's ability to perform his or her job.
  • The employee provides the test sample in private, outside the presence of any person.
  • Testing is conducted in conjunction with a bona fide rehabilitation program.
  • Positive test results are confirmed.
  • The employer informs the employee that the employee has the opportunity to have the sample tested or evaluated by an independent testing facility at the employer's expense.
  • The employer provides the employee with a reasonable opportunity to rebut or explain the results.
  • The employer has promulgated a drug abuse prevention policy that complies with requirements of Rhode Island's drug testing law.
  • The employer keeps the results of any test confidential, except for disclosing the results of a "positive" test only to other employees with a job-related need to know, and to defend against any legal action brought by the employee against the employer.

Nothing in this law prohibits drug testing that is required by federal law, so long as the testing procedure complies with all state law provisions that are not clearly inconsistent with the applicable federal law.

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