California to Limit Employers’ Cannabis Drug Tests
Posted on June 28, 2023
The recent passing of the Cal. Gov’t Code § 12954 regulation has caused a stir in the business world, as employers are now required to make changes to their drug screening practices. This post aims to explain the details of the new law and how it impacts current practices so that business owners and human resources managers can ensure they are in compliance with the regulations. If you have any questions about this blog, don’t hesitate to contact us for top-quality HR consulting in Orange County, CA.
This new law aims to protect employees from discrimination based on their use of recreational cannabis outside of work hours. It prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees based on their use of recreational cannabis, as long as it does not interfere with their job performance or the safety of others in the workplace.
Employers Will Need to Make Changes
This regulation affects all California employers except those federally mandated to conduct drug tests due to safety-sensitive positions or other federal laws. Employers will need to make changes to their drug screening practices by no longer testing applicants or employees for recreational cannabis use. Alternatives for employers include instituting a zero-tolerance policy for any impairment while at work, implementing an employee assistance program (EAP) for substance abuse issues, and providing education on the risks associated with substance abuse in the workplace.
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Employers who do not abide by this new regulation may face civil action lawsuits from applicants or employees who have been discriminated against due to recreational cannabis use outside of work hours. Additionally, employers may be subject to fines or penalties imposed by state agencies such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
To stay compliant with Cal. Gov’t Code § 12954, employers should take actionable steps such as revising their drug testing policies and procedures, training supervisors and managers on recognizing signs of impairment, updating job descriptions and ensuring that any pre-employment inquiries regarding marijuana use are removed from applications or interviews.
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It is important for employers in California to understand this new regulation and its implications for their business operations in order to remain compliant with state laws while protecting their employees from discrimination based on recreational cannabis use outside of work hours. By taking actionable steps such as revising policies and procedures, training supervisors/managers, updating job descriptions and removing pre-employment inquiries about marijuana use from applications/interviews, businesses can ensure they follow best practices regarding employee drug screening under Cal. Gov’t Code § 12954.