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Updated Laws Regarding Cannabis Use and Employee Rehiring

Posted on October 20, 2023

Updated Laws Regarding Cannabis Use and Employee Rehiring

Employers and HR consulting firms in California are preparing for the implementation of updated cannabis use laws in the state. Starting January 1, 2024, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against individuals for their off-duty cannabis use or having non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their system.

However, employers can still refuse to hire based on pre-employment drug screenings that test for impairment or the presence of THC. This means that if a candidate tests positive for THC during the pre-employment screening, the employer can still choose not to hire them due to potential impairment on the job.

Potential Discrimination Claims in this Context May Arise

An employee not hired because of a positive THC test during the pre-employment screening could claim that they weren’t under the influence during work hours and that the THC levels were due to off-duty use. This could potentially be seen as discrimination against off-duty cannabis use.

Similarly, another example could be an employee fired after testing positive for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites during a random drug screening. The employee might argue that they were discriminated against because the presence of such metabolites doesn’t necessarily indicate impairment at work but instead points to off-duty use of cannabis, which is protected under the new law.

To Avoid Potential Discrimination Claims

Employers must ensure that their drug testing policies are in line with the updated laws regarding cannabis use. This may include re-evaluating pre-employment and random drug screening procedures to focus on impairment rather than just the presence of THC or non-psychoactive metabolites.

Contact eqHR Solutions, one of the top HR consulting firms in California, to better understand compliance with updated laws.

Employers Are Not Required to Accommodate Cannabis Use in the Workplace

This includes allowing employees to use cannabis during work hours or on work premises. Employers also have the right to discipline or terminate employees who are impaired on the job, regardless of whether it is due to cannabis use or any other substance.

It is essential for employers to review and update their policies to ensure compliance with the new laws regarding cannabis use. This includes educating managers and HR personnel on the revised regulations and any potential implications for employment decisions. Employers should also communicate these updates to employees, ensuring they understand their rights and responsibilities concerning off-duty cannabis use.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial for employers to provide resources and support for employees who may be struggling with cannabis use. This could include offering employee assistance programs or information on responsible and safe usage.

Overall, it is essential for employers to stay informed and updated on laws regarding cannabis use in the workplace. Failure to comply with these laws could result in potential discrimination claims and negative impacts on the company’s reputation. By

It is essential for employers to review their drug testing policies and procedures in light of these updated laws. Employers should also educate themselves on the differences between impairment and the mere presence of THC in a drug test.

While these new laws may seem challenging for employers, they can also bring about positive changes in the workplace. By promoting education and support, employers can create a more inclusive and understanding work environment for all employees. It is important to remember that off-duty cannabis use is now protected under the law, and employers must adjust their policies accordingly while still maintaining a safe and productive workplace.

Contact one of the top HR consulting firms in California to learn more.

There Are Exceptions

Building and construction trades and positions require federal background checks or security clearances. State and federal laws regarding testing for controlled substances as a condition of employment or for federal funding or contracts are also not affected.

In addition, under SB 700, employers are prohibited from requesting information about an applicant’s prior cannabis use. Information obtained from criminal history related to off-the-job cannabis use or non-psychoactive metabolites in drug tests cannot be considered for employment purposes unless permitted under specific provisions of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or other laws. This means employers cannot ask about a candidate’s previous cannabis use during the hiring process and cannot use this information to make employment decisions.

Employers should also be aware of potential discrimination claims related to medical cannabis use. Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, medical marijuana users are considered individuals with disabilities and are protected from discrimination. Employers must interact with these individuals to determine reasonable accommodations for their medical cannabis use unless it would create an undue hardship for the company.

Why Are Businesses Turning to HR Consulting Firms in California?

Businesses are increasingly relying on HR consulting firms to ensure compliance with the updated cannabis employee use laws. These consulting firms bring a wealth of expertise in navigating the intricate intersection of employment regulations and cannabis legislation. They can help businesses establish and enforce policies regarding employee cannabis use, maintain a safe and productive work environment and ensure they adhere to the latest legal requirements. By partnering with HR consulting firms, businesses can proactively address the complexities of cannabis-related employment issues, reducing risks and promoting both legal compliance and employee well-being.

Ensuring Compliance with HR Consulting Firms in California

In short, employers must stay informed and educated on laws related to cannabis use in order to avoid potential legal issues and maintain a fair and inclusive workplace. By understanding employees’ rights and employers’ responsibilities, we can work towards creating a harmonious and productive work environment for all. It is essential to regularly review and update policies per the evolving laws and promote education and support for employees regarding responsible cannabis use. With these efforts, we can navigate the changing landscape of cannabis use in the workplace with confidence and fairness. So, it is essential for employers to stay updated on any changes or updates.

These laws will be effective until December 31, 2025. Stay informed and compliant with the latest regulations, and contact eqHR Solutions to create a plan for your business and ensure compliance in California.