With several states legalizing both medicinal and recreational marijuana in recent years, many employees here now wonder if they are protected carefully from being fired for smoking pot at work. Medical marijuana is more legal in more than 30 states. And the District of Columbia. States, where recreational marijuana is legal. Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and some states like Maine, California, Alaska, Colorado, and Massachusetts are the best example.
But just because the weed is now legal in various states. Maybe it doesn’t mean that you can go to work stoned. Many employers have some zero-tolerance drug policies. Marijuana is different from alcohol. It can be then detected in your body mainly when you use it for some of the weeks. An employee may use it over the weekend. And then drug tests could still detect some marijuana the next week. Even whenever the user is no longer impaired.
Much research has shown that more than 188 million Americans (58%) have indicated a willingness to medicate with marijuana. And get high, or at the very least, allow others to do so. Over a quarter of Americans mention wanting to smoke pot strictly for pleasure. Those are residing in states where marijuana is now legal to have to deal with this new reality. But it’s employers and employees who feel important to think about this on a more fundamental level. The employees who use pot may have to deal with their employers’ regulations and suspicions, and the possibility of losing their jobs.
What Issues Am I going to Face While High at Work?
We then completely understand that by getting high before work may sound very appealing. And many people claim that they work better when stoned. But best of luck to you getting that one past your boss! Many experienced researchers are currently very excited about seeing if cannabis can help with ADHD patient focus which is very important. But as of yet, nothing conclusive like before has been published.
Even if you “swear” that it always makes you work very efficient. For the same cause that your employers don’t want you drunk at work. They don’t want you to stone at your workplace. You see, although bosses don’t want any employees to be stressed. And they also don’t want them to be very incompetent. The real issue at your hand is company liability.
For a quick response, if you are a mechanic, we are pretty very sure that your boss will have an issue with you. You are showing up stoned because they don’t want to take any risk in the event. That you cause more devastating damage to a car that you’re working on or even if you hurt yourself or someone else because some influence was under you.
Are Marijuana Users Were Ever Protected From Being Fired?
The right way to use cannabis legally under state law that doesn’t necessarily guarantee job protection for exercising this right. Unless if the state that you reside in specifically prohibits employers from firing employees, for off duty cannabis use, if you probably won’t be protected.
If you have medical marijuana prescription in these states, your employer can’t fire you for off-duty use that doesn’t affect your work.
In some states that don’t have a clear directive, courts have been ruling in favor of employers.
In Colorado, in 2015, the Supreme Court then upheld the firing of a quadriplegic man who was then tested positive for pot on a drug test due to off-the-job use. Whatever more recent cases, including in federal courts in Massachusetts and Connecticut Rhode Island’s state Supreme Court, have reversed this trend by finding in favor of those such employees who used medical marijuana.
Until the Supreme Court of the U.S or Congress addressed the issue, the law will remain in a state of uncertainty. So it is important to check your state’s laws or seek advice from an employment lawyer if you have been taught disciplined or fired for using medical marijuana.
Recreational marijuana laws are still very relatively new, but an increasing number of states are considering and passing these sorts of rules every year. However, generally, these laws that everyone follows don’t protect employees from being fired for legal, off-duty recreational use.
Many of the state laws expressly state that they don’t intend to interfere with the ability of an employer to enforce zero-tolerance drug policies. For instance; there are some recreational marijuana laws of California state that most of the employers are allowed to test the employees and applicants for marijuana use and maintain a drug-free workplace.
Being High at Work
As we’ve briefly discussed above it, you can be then fired for marijuana use, or even if you don’t want to work while “actively high.” Remember, marijuana is still considered to be a Class 1 drug by the federal administration. So before if you fail a drug test, you should learn what your company’s policies are regarding weed use by enquiring them with HR about drug tests.
Employers have their rights to set rules for non-medical use of weed in the workplace in much the same way that they currently set standards for alcohol. Expressly, employers may prohibit the use of marijuana at work or during working hours and can also prevent employees from attending the work while impaired.
Rules regarding non-medical use of marijuana in your workplace may enforce via the application of the employer’s progressive discipline policy.
But ultimately, companies must accommodate medical marijuana usage. If an employee has a prescription of marijuana, employers have to help them. In reality, there is no different than any other accommodation, whether it’s providing someone with a religious observance or a bad back.
The biggest challenge for most employers is understanding when accommodation is then required. It’s the employee’s responsibility to make that you need to be known. But this can be more difficult from an employer’s point of view. For instance, there is no way to ask for a diagnosis or medical history. Instead, they can ask for the limitations on the employee’s ability that can carry out their job functions.
More effective communication with employees regarding marijuana use is going to become increasingly important over the next few years. There are some clear rules and regulations that need to be put in place to ensure that both employers and their employees are on the same page regarding being high in the workplace.
Pot-friendly Companies That Already Exist
Colorado has become somewhat of a model for weed legalization. Adding 18,005 full-time jobs and $2.4 billion to the state’s economy in the year 2016. It could also prove to be the testing ground for the full acceptance of marijuana use in the workplace. Colorado companies High There! (a social network for weed users). Mass Root and Flowhub (a software provider for the cannabis industry) all allow their related employees to bring marijuana-infused beverages and edibles to work.
Kyle Sherman, the co-founder of Flowhub, told CNN, “If it helps our employees get work done, then we don’t care if they consume at work.” Although so far only anecdotal evidence exists, it does suggest that it’s working for them. To date, the company has processed nearly $200 million in marijuana purchases. And an additional $3.25 million in investor funding.
These companies may be open-minded outliers for now. But a 2015 survey reported that a fifth of small business owners said that, they would allow employees who have medical marijuana prescriptions to use pot at work — demonstrating that mentalities might be changing.
Final Thoughts on Being High at Work
The significant changes to the legal status of weed have brought about unique and unprecedented challenges for employers. They have to change their policies drastically to accommodate all the employees. Especially those who use marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Zero-tolerance workplace policies for cannabis use or possession will likely become unenforceable. We also expect to see some employees begin to negotiate or request coverage under health and some benefits plans for medical marijuana prescriptions. But ultimately, the thing that always happens in time, many uncertainties and issues surrounding the use of marijuana will be disputed.