Illinois - Considerations for Marijuana in the Workplace
Medical Marijuana Law:
Recreational Marijuana Law:
No Broad Laws Legalizing Marijuana*:
*Marijuana is either totally illegal, or there may be laws decriminalizing possession, or use of marijuana, or, the state may have a CBD law legalizing THC at a level constituting marijuana-derived CBD.
An employer may not penalize an individual solely based on statues as a medical marijuana patient unless accommodating (hiring, etc.) could jeopardize monetary or license-related benefit under federal law or rules.
The law permits employers to implement reasonable regulations about employee use of marijuana including disciplining an employee for a violation of a drug-free workplace policy. (410 Illinois Comp. Stat. 130/50) “…(b) enforcing a policy concerning drug testing, zero-tolerance, or a drug free workplace provided the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.”
This includes adverse action or (410 ILCS 705/10-50 (e)(1)), “withdrawal of a job offer due to failure of a drug test.”
However, it is unlawful to refuse to hire or discharge an employee because the individual uses (ILCS 820 55(a)), “lawful products off the premises of the employer during nonworking and non-call hours.” But the IL legislature clarified adverse action based on a positive drug test does not open the employer to liability if it is so stated in a reasonable policy as noted above.
Nothing requires employers to permit an employee to use while performing job duties or being on call.
It is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire or discharge any individual because the individual uses lawful products off the premises of the workplace during non-working and non-call hours. On-call is, (ILCS 820 55/5(a)) “…when the employee is scheduled with at least 24 hours’ notice by his or her employer to be on standby or otherwise responsible for performing tasks related to his or her employment either at the employer’s premises or other previously designated location by his or her employer or supervisor to perform a work-related task.”
Employers have protection against a cause of action if their actions were based on good faith belief that the employee used, possessed or was under the influence on premises or during work hours.
If an employer elects to discipline a qualifying patient, he or she must afford the employee a reasonable opportunity to contest the basis of the determination.
Section 10-50 of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. This also provides a definition of “lawful” that limits the term to that which is lawful under state law.
(Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act 1-5(e), 10-50(a), 10-50(e)(1)) “…Employee workplace safety should not be diminished, and employer workplace policies shall be interpreted broadly to protect employee safety.”
Testing for marijuana is permitted of both employees and candidates as long as it is reasonable and nondiscriminatory.
Nothing in the law creates a defense for the individual who fails a marijuana drug test.
An employee is considered “impaired” when he or she manifests at least one of the following specific articulable symptoms that compromise work performance such as, (410 Illinois Comp. Stat. 130/50) “… employee’s speech, physical dexterity, agility, coordination, demeanor, irrational or unusual behavior, negligence or carelessness in operating equipment or machinery, disregard for the safety of the employee or others, or involvement in an accident that results in serious damage to equipment or property, disruption of a production or manufacturing process, or carelessness that results in any injury to the employee or others.”
If an employer elects to discipline a qualifying patient under this subsection, it must afford the employee a reasonable opportunity to contest the basis of the determination.
It is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire or discharge any individual because the individual uses lawful products off the premises of the workplace during non-working and non-call hours. (ILCS 820 55/5(a)) “’lawful products’ means products that are legal under state law.”
If an employer determines to discipline an employee for impairment of being under the influence, the employee must be given a reasonable opportunity to contest the basis of the determination.
(410 Illinois Comp. Stat. 130/50) (c)) “Nothing in this Act shall limit an employer from disciplining a registered qualifying patient for violating a workplace drug policy.”
If an employer determines to discipline an employee for impairment of being under the influence, the employee must be given a reasonable opportunity to contest the basis of the determination
Qualifying patients may purchase medical marijuana only from their specific dispensary as indicated on their registration form.
Consumption is prohibited in workplaces, public places or where it can endanger others, public transportation, and more.
Legal patients can transport marijuana inside secured, sealed containers that are inaccessible while driving.
Neither drivers nor passengers may consume marijuana inside a vehicle.
Other Impacting Laws
(e.g., drug testing, workers’ compensation, unemployment)
Illinois’ decriminalization specifies that the legal limit for THC is 5 ng/ml in blood or 10 ng/ml in other bodily specimens. This may change as recreational marijuana becomes available. • Unemployment claim denial – Compensation can be denied based on misconduct, (820 Illinois Comp. Stat. 405/602(A)(7)) “…misconduct means deliberate and willful violation of a reasonable rule or policy…” and shall include, “…reporting to work under the influence of… an impairing substance unless the employee,” is required to “…report to work outside of scheduled or on-call hours and informs the employer that he or she is under the influence.”
There is workers’ compensation law that contains drug testing specific requirements if an employer wants to expand their latitude for denying workers’ compensation claims.
Illinois has workers’ compensation law that requires drug testing to be performed according to nationally scientifically accepted analytical methods and procedures by accredited or certified testing laboratories else evidence will not be admissible in any hearing under this Workers’ Compensation Act. Public works employers have separate governing law that regulates and mandates drug testing specifics.
Workers’ compensation claim denial – A positive test or a refusal to test following an accident will be ruled rebuttable presumption that the employee’s intoxication was the proximate cause of the injury. An employee can overcome the rebuttable presumption that his or her intoxication was not the proximate cause of the injury.
820 Illinois Comp. Stat. 405/602(A) – Unemployment related
820 Illinois Comp. Stat. 305/11 – Workers’ compensation related
This resource is designed to provide accurate information regarding the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that those involved in the resource are not engaged in rendering legal counsel. If legal advice is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
Where there are quotation marks, the language is directly from published law. This information is only a summary of some issues and it will benefit the reader to review the information in context (go to the law) and in relation to other laws (e.g. workers compensation, unemployment law).
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