Department of Labor logo

02/26/2021

Feb 26, 2021 Judiciary Cmte Testimony, SB 888

Written Testimony of Kurt Westby, Commissioner Department of Labor Judiciary Committee February 26, 2021  

 
Good Morning Senator Winfield, Representative Stafstrom, Senator Kissel, Representative Fishbein and members of the Judiciary Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with written testimony in support of SB 888, AN ACT RESPONSIBLY AND EQUITABLY REGULATING ADULT-USE CANNABIS.  My name is Kurt Westby and I am the Commissioner of the Department of Labor.   SB 888 offers a comprehensive approach to the legalization of cannabis for adults outside of the workplace.  This bill does not change existing drug-testing law with respect to an employer’s ability to request or require drug testing from existing or prospective employees.  An employer may conduct drug testing if it has a legal basis to do so, like the following:  (1) pre-employment testing per § 31-51v; (2) random testing per § 31-51x(b); and (3) reasonable suspicion per § 3151x(a).  Employers retain the right at all times to maintain a drug-free workplace by prohibiting the use of intoxicating substances, including cannabis, and to discipline any employee under the influence of cannabis, alcohol, or other drugs in the workplace.
 
The reasonable concerns of employers to a workplace free from intoxicating substances of any kind have been taken into consideration in this bill and balanced with employees’ rights to legitimate off-duty use. For employees in safety-critical positions and subject to federal contracts, the bill provides employers with the flexibility to ensure compliance with federal law and the safety of the public. Any action taken by other employers must be pursuant to a preestablished policy provided to employees, and those employers may only test for active metabolites of cannabis, not the metabolites that persist in the body the longest.
 
I further note that that the Connecticut Labor Department incurs no administrative costs concerning investigations of alleged violations of this Act, as the exclusive remedy provided in this bill is to have it enforced through a private right of action.
 
The Labor Department, alongside the Administration, stands ready to engage with the Committee to ensure that the provisions of this bill continue to strike the right balance between the rights of employers and employees in the workplace.
 
Thank you for the opportunity to provide this testimony.

Connecticut Department of Labor ‚óŹ www.ct.gov/dol

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer