Hiring Cheech and Chong
Marijuana is in the news, has been in the news, and legalizing it has changed the meaning of a “smoke break”, but what does it mean for employers and employees?
Absolutely nothing; businesses that have drug and alcohol rules, regulations, and consequences; still have those same company laws. Drug use is still drug use and whether it is legalized or not, marijuana is still a drug. Think of it like alcohol; drinking on the job is against company policy and will get any employee fired; yet it completely legal for anyone twenty-one and older.
Furthermore, marijuana use is not protected as a "reasonable accommodation" for an employee under the Americans with Disabilities Act. State courts generally have ruled that employers are not legally required to accommodate marijuana use, whether the person is a candidate for employment or a current employee who comes to you and says she now has a prescription and intends to use it. Here are some of the differences among states:
In California, the state Supreme Court held that the law protects medical marijuana users from criminal prosecution, but not from being fired. The case in question involved an employee's off-duty use of medical marijuana to treat a disability.
In Oregon, physician-prescribed marijuana for chronic pain is legal (patients do have to register), but the law specifically states that employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana at work.
Have you had the talk with your employees about drugs in the workplace? I’m sure that there are posters, signs, and even an employee handbook around for people to glance at, but with conflicting information from the government; are you sure that they understand the company’s stance on drug use in the workforce?
For example, does you company provide healthcare benefits? If so, they most likely do not cover medical marijuana. Why? Because even though marijuana has been legalized at the state level (in some states), it is still against the law on the federal level, and it is not FDA approved. No large insurance company would approve coverage for medical marijuana at this time.
So let’s hear from you; what examples do you have about “weed at work”?
Here are a couple of examples to get you started:
“My wife smokes it for pain and I must have walked through the smoke” (response after failing a pre-employment drug screening).
“I brought in edibles [marijuana infused food] in my lunch so that my boss wouldn’t see me smoking” (response during an interview question of when have you thought outside of the box).
April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.
Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.
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