Many job-seekers would no longer face tests for marijuana use under legislation that New York City is likely to enact, taking a novel step as lawmakers and employers around the U.S. grapple with workplace policies about pot.
The Democrat-led City Council passed a measure Tuesday that would ban pre-employment testing for the drug, with certain exceptions.
Supporters see the measure , which if enacted may be the first of its breadth, as knocking down a barrier that blocks people from jobs because of private behavior, not professional ability.
“If you ingest weed in whatever manner a month ago, I’m not sure how that prevents you from doing your job now,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a Democrat who sponsored the proposal, told the council.
But some council members and business groups object to what they see as municipal meddling with a valid employment concern.
“Private businesses should have the power to determine their own hiring practices — not just in deciding what skills and experience are relevant to certain positions, but also whether the use of a specific drug could have an adverse impact on a prospective employee’s ability to perform,” Council Republican Leader Steven Matteo said in a statement.
The measure is awaiting action from Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat. A spokeswoman told The New York Times that City Hall supports the legislation; The Associated Press sent an inquiry Friday seeking to confirm the mayor’s position.