On January 1, 2020, Governor Pritzker is expected to sign the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. In other words, the Prarie State will become the 11th state to permit recreational marijuana. This piece of legislation will allow adults 21 years of age or older to possess and use cannabis. However, this can pose a problem between employers and employees. Why? Well, the law is 600 plus pages, and it authorizes business owners to adopt and enforce reasonable/non-discriminatory, zero-tolerance, and drug-free workplace policies.
They are allowed to create policies regarding things having to do with a drug screening test, as well as, the consumption, storage, or smoking of cannabis in the workplace. This also pertains to employees that are on-call for service companies. The Act is a bit confusing though. It states that employers are not allowed to punish or take action against employees that use marijuana outside of the workplace. So, it is probably going to be extremely difficult for business owners to differentiate between the two types of uses.
Changes To The Right To Privacy Act
Under the new plan, recreational and medical marijuana are lawful products within the state law. They must be treated in the same manner as tobacco and alcohol. Therefore, business owners can’t discriminate against applicants or employees who use cannabis, providing that the instances take place off-site and during non-working hours. Now, employers must change the emphasis from whether an agent used marijuana to if they were impaired or under the influence while on the job.
Legal Action May Arise
If an employer attempts to pull a drug screening test on an employee without probable cause, he or she will likely hire a lawyer to get to the bottom of the situation. Also, business owners can find themselves in hot water if they neglect to hire someone because of cannabis use. As if that wasn’t enough, there is still more. Disciplining or terminating a worker that fails a pre-employment, random, or post-leave drug screening test will find themselves surrounded by controversy.
It will be interesting to see how things unfold once this Act goes into effect. The Illinois Department of Labor can clarify the laws to make them easier for everyone to understand. However, persons shouldn’t expect that to happen any time soon. So, employers will want to review and evaluate their policies and procedures to ensure that the workplace is safe for everyone.
Supervisors should be trained to properly evaluate workers for suspicion of being under the influence. Additionally, they need to be able to enforce company policies without showing favoritism. Of course, as with anything else, appropriate communication must take place between bosses, managers, and employees to prevent mishaps from occurring. Then, lastly, if a business owner does not know what to do, they should consider consulting with an attorney to assure that they don’t violate the law.