California Drug Testing and Workers’ Comp Laws

California Workers' Compensation Laws and Regulations of this State
California Workers’ Compensation Laws and Regulations
Official California Website

CALIFORNIA State Law Summary – Workplace Drug/Alcohol Testing

California is considered a mandatory state (limits random drug testing to safety jobs) with additional rules stemming from state court decisions.  

NO law requires a written policy; however, for workers compensation / unemployment purposes employers MUST have written policy;

NO notice or posting requirements in this state.

Employer MUST pay all costs of required “medical exams”; no court has yet determined if a drug/alcohol test is a medical exam.

NO limits exit under state law or court decision.


 Random testing is limited by State Supreme Court decision to safety-sensitive workers only.

NO limits exit under state law or court decision.

NO limits exit under state law or court decision.

State Supreme Court opinion limits random testing to safety-sensitive jobs only.

NO limits exit under state law or court decision.


  • Has a law permitting the medical use of marijuana.

  • Has state contractor/grant recipient Drug-Free Workplace Act.

  • Has laws that provide that “intoxication” or controlled substance use (positive test/refusal) may affect eligibility for workers compensation or unemployment benefits.

  • Has law requiring employers (w/ 25 or more employees) to reasonably accommodate employee wishing to voluntary enter rehabilitation.

  • Has law that requires any drug test consortium to report positive test of CDL employee to Sec. of State.  

  • Has state court decision that requires employers to advise employees that the purchase of medications in foreign countries could cause a positive test result.
Updated 11/16/11

The material on this page has been provided by our resource partner Park-Dickens Group, distributor of FIGHTREADY™, an automated process for state specific, post-accident policies and procedures to help defend against workers' comp claims involving drug and alcohol intoxication. For a copy of the state laws, regulations, statutes, court decisions, or cases involved, email Bill Judge.

WARNING: This information is presented after a review of the statutes, regulations and court decisions in this state. This information is subject to frequent change and inherently involves our opinion in certain instances and you may disagree. This information is presented for general educational purposes only -- IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE LEGAL OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.  Always consult your legal and medical professionals before making any decisions.

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