Weed in the Workplace

Part I: Employers Struggle with Growing Marijuana Use

By Phillip M. Perry

Editor’s note: As more states legalize marijuana for recreational and medical purposes, employers must design workplace drug policies to conform to a liberalized legal environment while protecting customers and employees from harm caused by impaired workers. This first installment in a two-part series discusses the changing legal terrain. The second installment will discuss the steps employers are taking to mitigate their legal and financial risks.

Illicit drugs are increasing in the workplace. And marijuana is leading the way.

What should employers do? The answer has become more complicated with the growing number of states legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational use. Should drug tests even include marijuana anymore? If they do, and evidence of marijuana use pops up, should employees be penalized? And further: Do employers have to accommodate for the medical use of marijuana under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, or state human rights laws? …