A new rule by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will allow states to expand the parameters used to conduct drug testing on people who apply for unemployment insurance. The rule, which was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, allows drug testing in occupations where it is regularly conducted. It includes testing for marijuana, opioids and a variety of other substances.
Jobless workers who fail the test would be blocked from getting the assistance.
It replaces an Obama-era policy that limited unemployment claim-related drug testing to workers in high-risk jobs or employees who were fired because they tested positive for drugs. That rule was repealed by Congress in 2017.
Critics say the rule deprives people of much-needed assistance and gives employers an incentive to conduct drug testing if they don’t already do it, because unemployment insurance costs to companies are lower if workers are more likely to be denied benefits.