Top 5 Things to Know When Drug Testing in Missouri

"Employers must meet certain drug testing requirements in order to successfully challenge workers’ and unemployment comp claims based on substance abuse."

by Jessica Polk, Director of Communication Services for Current Consulting Group LLC


This information is provided for educational purposes only. Reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein.


     Even though the “Show-Me” State doesn’t have a mandatory drug testing statute similar to neighboring states like Iowa and Oklahoma, the state’s workers’ and unemployment compensation regulations can have a direct impact on workplace programs. Employers must meet certain drug testing requirements in order to successfully challenge workers’ and unemployment comp claims based on substance abuse.

   Below are five things that you need to know when drug testing in Missouri:

   Drug Testing Law Type: None

     Workers’/Unemployment Compensation Denial: Workers’ and unemployment compensation laws in Missouri contain their own drug testing requirements. Employers are not required to comply unless they wish to move to deny workers’ or unemployment compensation claims. The following are five drug testing requirements of the unemployment compensation law:

  • First, employers must notify applicants and employees of their policy before testing by conspicuously posting the policy in the workplace (e.g., in a written personal policy or handbook), or by stating the policy as part of a collective bargaining agreement governing employment. Written notification must state that a positive result may result in suspension or termination of employment.
  • Second, an employer’s policy may include random, pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, and post-accident testing. Such types of testing are admissible as evidence of misconduct.
  • Third, all specimen collections for drugs and alcohol must follow U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) procedures, including chain-of-custody protocols.
  • Fourth, testing must take place in a laboratory certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or a laboratory certified by an organization whose qualifications are as stringent as SAMHSA.
  • Fifth, an employee may request a confirmation test, meaning a second analytical procedure used to identify the presence of a specific drug or alcohol or metabolite in a specimen. The second procedure must be different from the first test, be just as accurate, be a split-specimen exam, and be performed in a separate, unrelated certified laboratory. If the test does not confirm the first test (i.e., if the retest is a negative result), the employee that requested it cannot be required to pay for the cost of the test.  For more information on workers’ comp visit Current Compliance State Drug Testing Law Database.

     Marijuana Laws: Medical marijuana is permitted in the state of Missouri via Missouri Constitution Article XVI3. However, use at work or being under the influence at work is prohibited. Consumption of medical marijuana in a public space, operating a vehicle, or performing any task where doing so under the influence would constitute negligence or professional malpractice is strictly prohibited. Medical marijuana using employees may not bring a claim against an employer, former employer, or prospective employer based on any disciplinary action because the employee was under the influence of marijuana in the workplace. Employers may discipline an employee if the employee is under the influence of marijuana while at work or is attempting to work while under the influence of marijuana.


     A Major Case Law Decision: In 2006, Missouri’s governor signed into law a bill that came in direct response to, and in clear rejection of, existing Missouri case law requiring evidence of impairment in work performance to invalidate an unemployment claim. With this 2006 amendment, any unemployment claimant having been discharged for having a “detectible amount of alcohol or a controlled substance” in violation of an employer’s substance-abuse-prevention policy, “shall have committed misconduct connected with the claimant’s work.”4 Hence, even though Missouri does not have a general workplace drug testing law, its unemployment compensation law contains detailed provisions for drug testing.


     Conclusion: Missouri is one of the most employer-friendly drug testing states as employers are free to conduct drug testing, test for marijuana, and mete out adverse employment action for those who violate a company’s written drug-free workplace policy. As an added bonus, in accordance with specific and generally reasonable guidelines, Missouri employers may be able to successfully challenge certain workers’ and unemployment compensation claims based on positive drug test results.


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