The waters are getting murky for employers who have workers who are medical marijuana patients. Here’s what you should know.
The landscape surrounding the legality of cannabis throughout the United States has left both employees and employers in a state of uncertainty. This uncertainty persists because the changes regarding cannabis laws take effect so fast.
Unfortunately, when parties are left in the dark regarding the rules and regulations of cannabis consumption, surprises happen. Typically for employees, those surprises come in the form of random drug tests that could result in unemployment. That’s why it’s important to keep a few essential caveats in mind when consuming marijuana even in states where it’s completely legal.
Here are some important insights to keep in mind regarding weed in the workplace.
Going to Work Under the Influence Can Still Result in Termination
There are numerous circumstances that could tempt an employee to head to work under the influence. From an overwhelming amount of responsibilities to an influx of unpleasant customers or clients, there are a wide variety of reasons why taking a massive bong rip prior to work is seen as a necessity for employees.
Since employers have the right to terminate workers who are thought to be under the influence, it’s advisable for overworked employees to decide on a different method to relieve themselves from the pressures that come with the job. Doing so could be a safeguard against the stress that comes with searching for a new job while bills continue to pile up.
Federal Prohibition of Cannabis Means Employers Can Maintain-Zero Tolerance Policies
One of the reasons why employers are still able to fire employees for cannabis use on the job, even in legal states, is due to the federal prohibition of cannabis. This allows workplaces to require that their employees sign off on an agreement to contribute to making the job a drug-free workplace.
Another reason that gives employees the ability to fire employees for cannabis use is tying it into a decline in workplace performance. Industries that are performance-based are well within their rights to fire employees that affect the bottom line, or the performance of other employees due to cannabis use. This is especially true if the cannabis use that affects employee performance takes place on the clock. The only time employers would have cause for pause in said scenario is when dealing with an employee with a medical marijuana card.
A Medical Marijuana Card May Provide Special Accommodations For Those who Qualify
People who require medical marijuana to perform routine tasks to get through the day are the ones most likely to be afforded special privileges regarding marijuana use in the workplace. There are a variety of conditions that could qualify someone for a medical marijuana card too, depending on the state. Some of the most common qualifying conditions include HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. This means employers need to be careful about imposing drug testing requirements on those who qualify for it.
The best way to do this is by learning if there are any employees who are members of a state’s medical marijuana card program. Some states have laws that are designed to protect medical marijuana patients from discrimination, so employers should take special care to ensure they don’t discriminate against these employees by imposing their drug-free workplace policies.