Mississippi Drug Testing Laws 2024

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Mississippi Drug Testing Laws 2024

The laws regarding drug testing in Mississippi are outlined in Title 71, Chapter 7 of the state's Code Annotated. Any employer who establishes a drug testing program or policy in the state must do so in compliance with the Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations. In addition, all workplace testing must conform with the standards established by Section 71-7-21 of the Mississippi Code Annotated. Having a drug-free workplace policy is voluntary in the state, and there is no legal action against an employer that does not have one.

While medical cannabis is legal in the state, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act does not limit employers' abilities to establish or enforce drug testing policies. In other words, it does not prohibit employers from taking disciplinary actions against employees for consuming or possessing marijuana in the workplace or for working while under the influence of medical cannabis. Similarly, an employer may punish employees for off-duty drug use that results in impaired work performance, including poor work product, tardiness, and absenteeism.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in Mississippi?

In Mississippi, any employer with a drug testing policy may include illegal drugs such as opiates, cocaine, marijuana, phencyclidine, and amphetamines in its drug testing protocols. Testing for controlled drugs other than these ones can be conducted if an appropriate federal agency has specified an approved protocol and positive threshold for controlled substances. Under the state's drug testing law, employers are permitted to conduct the following types of tests for marijuana on employees using urine, hair, blood, or saliva as the test specimen:

  • Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing - An employer may conduct this test on any employee if a supervisor observes a situation that provides reasonable suspicion to believe the employer has consumed a prohibited drug. The suspicion can be based on an employee's behavior, appearance, body odors, or speech
  • Follow-up/Return to Duty Drug Testing - An employer can subject an employee referred for drug rehabilitation or suspended for workplace drug policy to unannounced testing after returning to duty. This may go on for between 12 to 60 months
  • Random Drug Testing - This involves testing employees selected at random for illicit drugs without advance notice
  • Post-Accident Drug Testing - This is conducted on any employee involved in any accident resulting in injuries that require more than simple first-aid treatment
  • Job Applicants Drug Testing - Employers can request job applicants to submit to this test as a condition of employment application

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in Mississippi?

No state law limits employers from conducting random drug testing on employees in Mississippi, and such tests are usually conducted unannounced. For instance, under 7 Miss. Code R. Section 3-3200, the State Department of Education Staff permits random unannounced drug testing of all employees without advance notice. The Department typically conducts drug tests on employees who return to duty after testing positive for a drug test or violating the Department's drug-free workplace drug policy.

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

In Mississippi, any employee who fails a workplace drug test or violates a drug-free workplace policy risks disciplinary actions. Such actions may include referring the employee to a rehabilitation program, employment termination, or other punishments within the confines of law. However, an employer may not discipline, discriminate against, or discharge an employee based on a positive drug test result that has yet to be verified by a confirmatory test. This also applies to job applicants. Any employer who disciplines or discharges an employee based on a positive confirmed drug test in the workplace is considered to have taken such an action for cause. The employee will be considered to have been discharged or disciplined for willful misconduct.

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

Yes. Mississippi drug testing law does not bar an employee from disciplining or firing employees who refuse to submit to drug tests conducted in line with state law and workplace drug policy. Besides discharging them, employers may also refer such employees to a drug treatment, drug abuse assessment, or drug rehabilitation program.

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

Yes. Medical cannabis registry identification cardholders in Mississippi are not exempted from workplace drug testing as long as they work with employers with workplace drug testing policies. Employers are not required to accommodate medical cannabis use or modify any working conditions for employees who are registered medical marijuana patients. As a result, regardless of whether a person has a medical cannabis card or not, their employer may still fire them for testing positive for marijuana or other drugs. Also, job candidates who are medical marijuana patients seeking employment in organizations with drug testing policies are not protected by any state law.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in Mississippi?

Yes, Mississippi employers with workplace drug testing policies are authorized to conduct drug tests on job applicants as a condition of the employment application. This is commonly referred to as job applicant drug testing. Under Mississippi drug testing law, an employer is required to inform job candidates in writing, upon the candidates' applications and before the collection of specimens, of their intention to conduct drug tests.

In Mississippi, job applicants may also be asked to sign a statement indicating that they have read and understood an employer's drug testing policy or notice before undergoing the drug test. An employer may use a job candidate's refusal to sign such a statement or submit to the required test as a basis for refusal to employ them. Similarly, job candidates who test positive for a job applicant drug test in Mississippi may be denied employment.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in Mississippi?

Mississippi has no known pre-employment drug test laws or rules. The one commonly conducted is done as a condition of a job application process and before being offered employment, not after receiving a job offer.

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

Yes, public agencies in Mississippi are not barred from requesting employees to submit to workplace drug tests. However, it is not mandatory. Per Section 71-7-3 of the Mississippi Code, in any government agency, the governing body or executive head of the agency must decide whether to require employees to submit to drug tests. This also applies to any department, institution, or political subdivision authorized to employ in the state. The decision of whether any individual whom an elected official employs must submit to a drug test is made by the governing body that the elected official serves.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

Yes. Mississippi employers, public or private, who deem it important to have a drug-free workplace can voluntarily create and implement drug-free workplace policies in line with the state's Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations. Typically, if an employer wants to adopt a drug-free workplace policy or program in the state, they must notify their employees at least 30 days before the implementation. They are required to make copies of the policy available for inspection by employees during working hours or post the notice in a conspicuous spot on the workplace premises.

At a minimum, a Mississippi employer's drug-free workplace policy should contain the following:

  • A statement reiterating the existence of a state's drug testing law
  • A statement on the employer's position on employee drug use. This should particularly state the grounds on which they may request an employee to submit to a drug test and the actions the employer may take in the event of a confirmed positive drug test
  • A statement concerning confidentiality in drug testing procedures
  • A description of which job roles will be subject to drug testing and the circumstances under which drug testing may occur
  • A list of all substances the employer may include in its drug tests
  • The consequences of an employee's refusal to submit to a mandatory workplace drug test
  • Information concerning how employees can discreetly report the use of medications, prescribed or not, before being drug tested
  • Information on employees' right to contest or explain the accuracy of positive confirmed test results

Employees Exempted From Mississippi Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Drug tests are not required by law for all employers in Mississippi. It is a matter of choice for most. However, employers from certain industries may be compelled to establish drug-free workplace policies due to the safety-sensitive nature of such industries or certain positions handled by their employees. Examples of these exemptions include aviation, transportation, safety, and law enforcement. Certain federal or state agencies in Mississippi may also be mandated to submit employees to workplace drug tests.

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in Mississippi?

Mississippi employers can engage the services of state or federally-certified laboratories for workplace drug tests. Specifically, such labs should meet one of the following criteria:

Per Section 71-7-9 of the Mississippi Code, a drug testing laboratory must collect specimens under reasonable and sanitary conditions. Such specimens may be collected by physicians, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, or qualified laboratory personnel. Specimen testing for drugs must comply with scientifically accepted procedures.

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