For years, employers around the nation have relied on the use of random drug testing, pre-employment drug screening, and more to help them identify drug use among their employees or potential employees. But the five panel drug test focuses on marijuana as well as other drugs, and recent marijuana reform laws have made it harder for employers to know what their rights are. The recent Medical Marijuana Unity Bill helps change this.
Known officially as the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, the Unity Bill clarifies many regulatory aspects of the medical marijuana law already in place and will also help employers understand their rights and what they can do. Previously, employers were very restricted when taking action against employees or applicants who were medical marijuana users.
This new law helps address several topics that are related to patient licenses, medical marijuana registries, and more. Here’s a look at some of the key points of what employers need to know about their rights regarding drug testing and employees today.
• Employers may not refuse to hire, discharge, or discipline employees or applicants based solely on their status as a medical marijuana licensee.
• If an employee or applicant doesn’t possess a valid medical marijuana license, the employer may refuse to hire or take disciplinary action.
• The employee may not possess, consume, or be under the influence of medical marijuana while at the place of employment or while fulfilling their employment obligations – however, the law doesn’t clearly define ‘under the influence’.
• Employers may also refuse employment, discharge employees, or discipline them due to marijuana use if the position is one that involves safety-sensitive job duties such as packaging hazardous materials, operating heavy machinery or motor vehicles, conducting medical treatment in any way, and more.
Oklahoma employers aren’t required to permit or accommodate the use of medical marijuana during work, and can have drug testing policies that fulfill their specific needs as long as they comply with the Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act.
This means that employers can still take action if they feel necessary, but they should proceed carefully to ensure full compliance with new state laws. As such, getting assistance with drug testing from facilities in Oklahoma City and the rest of Oklahoma will still be important for employers and for others who may have a need for the use of a five-panel drug test.