Marijuana Laws and How They Affect Company Policies
No matter what your feelings are on the legalization of marijuana, there's no denying that it's creating a legal headache for companies when it comes to their drug policies. There are now several things a company needs to consider in relation to their drug testing policies, as well as their on the clock rules.
Drug Testing and Employee Rights
New state regulations vary greatly on the topic of drug testing and employee rights where recreational marijuana is now legal. Many employees feel that what they do in their own time is not the company's business, same as if they drank alcohol or smoked while not on the clock. Patients with a medical marijuana prescription also feel that they should not be discriminated against for having a medical condition -- there are states that agree with this and have laws prohibiting it.
The main problem presented here is that while states may be legalizing some use of recreational marijuana, it is still illegal in the federal system. This makes drug testing policies a very slippery slope indeed. Check your local laws and legislations to make sure any policies you do create or update are within the legal structure of your state.
There is one thing that is not debatable in all of this, and that is workplace safety. No matter what your policy is about off the clock use of drugs or alcohol, it should never be acceptable to be under the influence of any substance while on the clock. Drinking alcohol may be legal, but that doesn't mean it should be tolerated in your workplace, and the same goes for marijuana. Intoxication of any type can pose a serious threat not only to that employee themselves, but to their coworkers and the company as a whole. Employers must make sure that policies about on-the-clock drug and alcohol policies are clear and easily understandable, and have all employees sign off on it.
The laws regarding marijuana use will continue to change, but workplace safety is never up for debate. It's important to consult with attorneys or human resources specialists to help navigate state and federal marijuana laws and make sure you keep your company policies up-to-date and your workplace a safe one.