Changing cannabis laws are in a seemingly constant state of flux around the country as bills go into effect and voters head to the ballot box. As a result, it is critical for HR departments to keep up with changing cannabis laws. This article emphasizes the point and shows the necessity of staying abreast of all changes to cannabis laws.
The alterations to many cannabis laws have many business owners confused about what their rights are in the whole situation. Are your current substance use policies now out of date, or are they legally valid? The good news is that the experts are still repeating the risks of marijuana usage in the workplace. For example, The National Safety Council has formally warned that the changing legal status of marijuana does not change the risks of workplace usage.
Additionally, legalization does not change the facts. Numerous studies have connected employees who tested positive for marijuana usage with increased injury risk and increased absenteeism.
Despite changing cannabis laws, your workplace should still maintain your own guidelines. You should clearly define what impairment means. The recreational usage of marijuana on the weekend does not necessarily mean impairment, so you need to understand the difference between the two when documenting and penalizing workplace impairment. We have an informative blog post here addressing how to document workplace impairment incidents.
A complicating factor for many workplaces is also reasonable accommodations. You must consider what accommodations are considered reasonable for those who do have an approved medical usage of cannabis. Some of your employees may not use it recreationally, but instead as a treatment for a medical condition under the supervision of a doctor. In this blog post, we have discussed what reasonable accommodation might look like.
Another key change in the wake of changing cannabis laws is how you perform your drug testing. In safety-sensitive positions or occupations where an employee could be lifting heavy objects, driving, operating machinery, working with sensitive information, or performing other confidential activities, you may need to continue drug testing the way that you have been. The rules that you maintain for safety-sensitive positions at your workplace may differ from those affecting other areas of the company. In this blog post, we have reviewed some of the things that you should consider when developing drug testing requirements for safety-sensitive positions.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs since 1999. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. To learn more about the rights of employees who test positive for marijuana, Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com