Marijuana at Work: What You Need to Know
With the New Year came the passing of Proposition 64; which legalizes Californians to recreationally consume cannabis marijuana on private property, carry up to an ounce and grow up to six plants. This new enforcement has the potential to cause confusion with what your rights may or may not be. What steps do you need to take to avoid conflict or confusion in regards to marijuana in the workplace?
Read further for 3 tips to addressing the new laws and how they may affect you:
1: First and Foremost
Review your employee handbook’s current Drug & Alcohol policy. Businesses in California maintain the right to enforce current policies adhering to employer drug-testing laws. The new law does not affect or eliminate an employer’s right to enforce employee drug-testing policies. Therefore, ask questions if you are unsure about any current policies in place.
2: What does this mean for me?
Go over current employment policies with your managers to avoid any misinterpretations or misconceptions. Federal law states an employer cannot discriminate on race, gender, religions, disabilities or health conditions. Alcohol, Marijuana and other drug use does not fall under these conditions; even if one might use medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor for a health condition or disability. California is an “at will” employment state, and therefore an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason.
3: If you are thinking: “How can I be fired for something that is legal?”
Just because you can buy alcohol does not mean you can come to work drunk. The same notation can apply to Marijuana. Zero tolerance policies are still protected under this new law. Remember that drug-testing and policies prohibiting alcohol and drug use are enforced for everyone’s safety. Educate yourself on how marijuana affects the body to further understand zero tolerance policies.
Take the time to review the facts and legal rights of both employees and employers regarding Prop 64. Whether your workplace drug tests or not, it is important to know how this new law may affect you and your workplace.