Don’t let your HR Practices go up in smoke – Stay Informed

Posted by Creatiq Support | Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Don’t let your HR Practices go up in smoke – Stay Informed

Posted by Creatiq Support | Wednesday, January 24, 2018

In light of recent laws regarding the legalization of medicinal marijuana,
employers must establish a balance between maintaining an inclusive work
environment that still focuses on employee safety. A CBS News poll recently
reported that 88%
of Americans now
favor legalization of medicinal marijuana. With this shift
in public opinion and ultimately the legalization of medicinal marijuana in 29
states across the country, a revisit on HR practices of marijuana use within
the workplace requires further study. To avoid potential risks of
wrongful-termination or negligent-hire claims while also balancing employee
safety, each HR department must define clear policies to address this growing
issue.

In regards to medicinal marijuana, an important distinction is the
difference between federal and state laws. At the federal level, the Controlled
Substance Act of 1970 is still in place which identifies marijuana as an
illegal substance. In addition, employers are responsible for upholding the
Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. Unfortunately, a lack of defined correlation
between conflicting laws is creating additional confusion within states that
have legalized medicinal marijuana.

The main question on every HR department’s agenda is whether or not they can
still limit marijuana use within the workplace. The answer is definitely yes,
you can. Legalization of medicinal marijuana does not grant approval for
employees to conduct
duties while impaired
. The courts have continued to uphold that employees cannot be impaired while
performing job duties. Ultimately, the employer is still responsible for
identifying and correcting employee behaviors that threaten employee safety.
 

Below are guidelines to maintain a safe work environment that still remains
inclusive in upholding the American with
Disabilities Act
.

  1. Treat medicinal marijuana as
    you would any other prescribed medication.
  2. Make expectations and
    consequences clear regarding job duties and ability to meet those
    obligations.
  3. Identify roles and specific
    responsibilities that have the potential of putting people at risk.
  4. Use conditional offers during
    employee selection that clearly outlines company policies and
    expectations.
  5. Build regular communications
    to re-enforce company policy on drug and alcohol abuse.
  6. Provide extensive training on
    identifying unfit-for-work conditions and consequences.

Granted, employment of government contractors or any position subject to
Department of Transportation regulations clearly defines that employees must be
drug free. Despite legalization of medicinal marijuana, a company must remain
informed and proactively build policies that uphold safety expectations while
clearly defining consequences.  

Sources:

https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/1672496/EB-MedicalMarijuana-v1.pdf?submissionGuid=851349b0-fe27-4c8f-9d9d-50c1b18bf2d6

https://www.bizjournals.com/portland/morning_call/2015/07/6-things-all-oregon-employers-need-to-know-as.html

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm

http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/ada/ch4.htm