Zero Tolerance Work Policies In States With Legalized Marijuana Laws
The times, they are a changing, but should your employee policies be changing as well?
Many small businesses that are located in states that are legalizing recreational marijuana use are unsure of what their policies should be when in comes to drug use. Does doing business in a state that allows for recreational use mean that the policies regarding drug use amongst their employees should be amended?
Here are some important points for business owners to consider:
First, while marijuana may be “legalized” in some states, it is still within an employer’s rights to ban it from the workplace. (Along with alcohol and other drugs) State laws do not affect an employer’s “zero tolerance” polices as detailed in their employee handbooks. What this means is an employer can still require that certain substances be banned in the work place, and that employees can be prohibited from reporting to work under the influence of substances- such as marijuana, even in a state that has legalized its use.
It is important for business owners who are operating in states where medicinal marijuana is legalized to review their drug policies and ensure that is speaks specifically to medical use. For example, reinforcing that impairment of any kind is not tolerated on the job even if the impairment is due to “medical” use.
Lastly, it is imperative for employers to familiarize themselves with both state and federal drug laws before drafting a drug testing policy. While an employer may want to enforce a zero tolerance work environment with random drug testing of employees, some states have laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who might test positive for medicinal marijuana use.
As with any new law that has an impact on businesses, it is always important for business owners to seek out a legal opinion on how these new regulations may impact their policies.
Are you doing business in a state that has just changed its drug policies? Reach out to L4SB today for a consultation.
Author: Kristy Donahue
Kristy is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for Slingshot, the parent company of Law 4 Small Business (L4SB). She is an MBA with an undergrad in Psychology. Formerly a Sr. VP with Bank of Albuquerque, Kristy now leads the marketing efforts of 6 legal brands for the Slingshot group of companies.