Employers, Take Note:
More states have passed laws related to the purchase, possession, and use of marijuana and its impact on hiring and employment than not. Meaning most employers in the U.S. may have obligations for policies and practices that address this issue appropriately in their respective states.
Legislative Highlights in 2019
Most recently, Nevada and New York City have made it unlawful to test for marijuana use prior to starting employment in most positions that do not have a safety or security component (e.g. drivers of vehicles, emergency personnel) and Oklahoma has amended its medical marijuana laws to specify that employees in safety-sensitive positions may not be eligible for accommodation for its use.
New Jersey passed CUMCA (Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act), which prohibits discrimination in hiring and/or conditions of employment against individuals who are registered medical marijuana users and joins eight other states with similar prohibitions.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, roughly 33 states (and Washington D.C.) have legalized medical or recreational marijuana – or both. What does this mean for business owners?
What Business Leaders Should Be Prepared to Do
While as of this posting no states have passed laws expressly allowing employees to use marijuana at work (or report to work impaired due to pre-shift use), we recommend the following:
- Check your handbook policies to ensure that drug free and smoke free workplace policies properly address use of marijuana in states where it is a legal substance.
- Ensure that your pre and post-employment drug testing is compliant with state law requirements.
- Review your hiring and interviewing policies and practices to ensure there is no discrimination of registered medical marijuana users.
- Educate and train your managers on the proper application of your testing policies and how to properly route accommodation requests related to marijuana use and test results.
- Last but not least, consult counsel to determine if your business has any positions where safety and security would override accommodations for employees who test positive for medical marijuana on the job.
Click the link to view the recent blog: Top Five HR Trends to Expect in 2020 or check back for more on human resources, payroll, insurance, and benefits.
This article does not constitute legal advice and there are subtle variations in employment law as it pertains to this topic, depending on where your business operates. It is strongly suggested that you seek consultation or legal counsel before making decisions about policies.