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Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking: California

Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team


  • California employers may refuse to hire or may terminate an employee who, because of current use of alcohol or drugs, is unable to perform their duties or cannot perform the duties in a manner that would not endanger their own or others' health or safety. See Drugs and Alcohol.
  • The California Drug-Free Workplace Act requires employers with contracts with state agencies to certify that they provide a drug-free workplace. See California Drug-Free Workplace Act.
  • Employers may prohibit the use of medical and recreational marijuana in the workplace. See Marijuana.
  • Employers may implement and enforce policies that prohibit the use, sale, possession, distribution, purchase and cultivation of drugs and alcohol in the workplace. See Drug and Alcohol Policies.
  • California does not prohibit private sector employers from testing employees and job applicants for drug and alcohol use and establishing their own testing policies. See Drug and Alcohol Testing.
  • California prohibits smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, in enclosed places of employment and enclosed spaces. See Smoking.
  • An employee's off-duty use of tobacco products and the lawful consumption of alcohol are protected from discrimination and retaliation. See Off-Duty Conduct.
  • "No Smoking" signs must be posted at workplace entrances in buildings where smoking is prohibited. See Postings.
  • California does not require employers to implement a smoking policy, but they may implement one that prohibits smoking in the workplace. See Smoking Policies.
  • Localities including San Diego and San Francisco have requirements pertaining to employee drug testing and smoking. See Local Requirements.