February 24, 2024

By Andrew Sheeler | Sacramento Bee

Starting Monday, California employers will probably be barred from discriminating in opposition to staff who use marijuana of their off hours.

Meeting Invoice 2188 requires employers to alter how they take a look at for marijuana use amongst staff, utilizing exams that present present impairment and never simply previous utilization. The legislation carves out some exceptions, resembling for many who work within the building trades.

“Expertise to check for marijuana impairment has really superior fairly a bit, so mainly employers can now simply take a look at for THC the psychoactive element in hashish and that may present impairment,” stated Los Angeles-based legal professional Bernard Alexander in an announcement. “Many of the older exams detect the non-psychoactive metabolites, which might keep in an individual’s system for weeks. So, a employee can take a look at optimistic after they’re not excessive or impaired in any respect.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 2188 into legislation in September 2022, however a provision of the legislation prevented it from going into impact till Jan. 1, 2024.

The invoice was championed by California NORML, a marijuana advocacy group, which stated in an announcement that “not a single, scientifically managed FDA examine has proven hashish metabolite testing to be efficient in enhancing office security or productiveness. Research point out that metabolite exams for previous use of marijuana are ineffective in defending job security.”

The group pointed to a survey of greater than 136,000 Canadian employees that discovered no affiliation between hashish use and workplace-related harm, even in high-risk occupations.

The invoice was opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce, which argued that employers would face legal responsibility by taking legit disciplinary measures in opposition to staff who use marijuana.

“Put merely: marijuana use isn’t the identical as defending employees in opposition to discrimination based mostly on race or nationwide origin and shouldn’t be in (the Honest Employment and Housing Act),” the chamber wrote in its argument.

Alexander famous that employers who disapprove of staff’ use of marijuana even in off hours “will probably be in search of alternative routes to terminate staff for different causes, and attorneys who defend these staff will argue these different causes are simply pretexts.”

Los Angeles-based legal professional Amy Duerk stated that whereas the legislation will defend the rights of most employees to make use of hashish when not working, it doesn’t preclude employers from preserving their office drug-free.

“These legal guidelines will push enhancements in testing for impairment and psychoactive metabolites in hashish. Employers will possible step up efforts to coach supervisors on impairment testing. Testing will proceed to enhance to assist employers distinguish between current use of hashish and non-impairment traces of hashish,” Duerk stated in an announcement.