The quality of a “zero-tolerance, drug-free workplace" has entered uncharted territory. The use of marijuana – like a physician-prescribed medicine, as well as a legal recreational substance – is now in the category of alcohol usage. But it is not really the same thing.
Keeping in mind that marijuana has been legalized in some of the individual states, it remains illegal on the federal level. Regarding what's lawful in offices, California and most other countries which have legalized medical marijuana in the 1990s have established a few important guidelines.
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California Proposition 215 (1996) hailed its usage by physician's prescription, but employers can hire and fire at will, including for using cannabis. This provision for employers was written into Prop 215.
Further, a 2008 court case determined a potential employee who had tested positive for marijuana use in a pre-employment drug screening could be refused a job on that premise.
The plaintiff argued his medical condition required its own use, but the court ruled he's that right in a criminal, but not civil, scenario. In other words, the employer keeps its right to pick.
Currently, with California Proposition 64 (2016), which legalizes recreational use too, it might seem as if marijuana use is in precisely the exact same form of alcohol.
Most attorneys counsel employers that want to prohibit its use, off premises while not functioning as well as throughout the workday, to clearly convey such a policy with frequency.