In episode 143 of “The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast,” JoDee and Susan discuss what you need to know about marijuana-related laws, policies, and risks with Alonzo Martinez, Associate General Counsel at HireRight.
When Alonzo speaks with clients, he consistently hears two central themes as it relates to marijuana. One is sourcing talent, and the second is protecting the workforce and clients. About 20% of Americans have used marijuana in the past year, with about 12% of those being regular users, so this involves a sizable amount of the workforce. Marijuana laws are complicated, though; most states have legalized at least medical marijuana usage, but the degree to which it’s regulated in the context of the workplace varies by state.
New York and Philadelphia now ban pre-employment testing of job candidates, and in the states where employers are allowed to run drug tests, whether or not you can disqualify a candidate from hire for a positive drug test depends on the state’s laws. No law requires that employers permit marijuana use while at work, on call, or on an employer’s premises, but several laws protect the lawful use of marijuana outside of the workplace. Depending on the state, an employer must reasonably accommodate the use of marijuana outside the workplace, but if the employer observes articulable symptoms of impairment at work, they may be able to adversely affect the worker’s employment.
When considering your policies as it relates to marijuana, Alonzo recommends avoiding zero tolerance policies, as the tide of marijuana laws is turning in favor of lawful marijuana users. However, you can create a drug free workplace policy. It’s important to know the laws of the states in which you employ people so you understand your legal obligations. These are all very nuanced discussions and decisions, and you should ensure that managers are educated about your policies and processes.
In this episode’s listener mail, a listener asks about how to respond to concerned hiring managers who want to see confidential background checks whether a candidate is hired or not. In the news, HRmorning.com shared a Skynova study about the reasons for “rage quitting,” or leaving jobs impulsively without notice.
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