September 22, 2021

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Anything but ordinary

Why Amazon’s updated marijuana drug testing policy could have ‘ripple effect’

As guidelines preserving grownup use of both equally medical and leisure cannabis use unfold, the next-greatest employer in the U.S. is changing its tune on drug testing.

In a June weblog publish, Amazon claimed it “will no longer contain cannabis in our detailed drug screening method” for work opportunities that are not regulated by the U.S. Section of Transportation. Instead, the firm explained it would treat marijuana use the same as liquor use.

The announcement was shocking inspite of Amazon’s status as a trend-setter from a business functions perspective, Michael Freimann, partner at Greenspoon Marder, informed HR Dive. But the information could have a “ripple effect” on how other businesses strategy cannabis screening shifting ahead, he additional, because of to the fact that far more and much more jurisdictions have implemented cannabis use legislation.

Presently, 18 states as very well as Washington, D.C., have adopted rules that legalize some type of adult leisure use, according to the Nationwide Meeting of State Legislatures. States included to the checklist in 2021 consist of Connecticut, New Mexico, New York and Virginia.

Within just some of these statutes, states have added provisions that include things like different kinds of protections for occupation applicants’ use of marijuana. In 2019, Nevada turned the first condition to prohibit employers from refusing to employ position applicants — with exceptions for some roles — on the foundation of a optimistic cannabis exam.

This 12 months, two states adopted up with very similar guidelines. In February, New Jersey enacted a law stating that businesses could not refuse to employ and may not consider adverse work actions in opposition to staff members due to the fact of cannabis use or solely since of the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in the employee’s bodily fluid that benefits from conduct permitted below point out regulation. In April, neighboring condition New York adopted legislation prohibiting work discrimination towards employees centered on hashish use prior to the commencing of or immediately after the conlusion of their function several hours, off the employer’s premises and with no the use of the employer’s equipment or property.

Amazon is not by yourself in adopting insurance policies that consider new legal guidelines into account. Following passage of Virginia’s leisure use laws this year, the city authorities of Norfolk, Virginia, dropped drug tests specifications for quite a few career classes, preserve for selected “basic safety delicate” positions, area news outlet WAVY-Television described.

The technique may well distribute as employers seek uniformity in their drug-tests insurance policies amid a fractured legal landscape, according to Freimann.

“We are commencing to see a craze of states taking these future actions,” he additional. “Amazon’s announcement is a way to get in advance of the curve.”

But that does not signify many employers will fall drug testing necessities entirely, even for marijuana like Amazon, employers will likely need to have to continue to keep in area requirements for positions regulated by DOT, Freimann claimed. And numerous states that have legalized recreational use even now permit businesses to create procedures prohibiting that use, regardless of whether on- or off-responsibility. Other individuals spell out the means of companies to develop procedures that aid in sustaining safe and sound workplaces.

“Basic safety will continue to be paramount,” Freimann mentioned, incorporating that companies across the board might practice managers to discover whether an staff is underneath the influence of hashish, comparable to alcohol and other medicine. Even in workplaces that moved remote during the pandemic, businesses continued drug testing regimens, work legislation industry experts formerly advised HR Dive.

Questioned how an employer may possibly apply a adjust in plan very similar to Amazon, Freimann reported HR teams may will need to initially assessment their personnel handbooks and policies to ascertain present compliance actions and schooling protocols. From there, businesses can determine which employment they will continue testing protocols for, and which kinds they will not.

Off-duty perform is most likely to be a vital consideration “If another person did arrive to do the job and use cannabis recreationally whilst they have been off-duty, how are we dealing with that man or woman?” Freimann explained.

Moreover, employers need to have to ensure that the definition of “reasonable suspicion” in their policies “is well-described and understood” inside the business, including through teaching, he mentioned. If a manager determines an employee is impaired by cannabis use, “they have to articulate why they have realistic suspicion to do that,” Freimann spelled out.

Documentation is also important. “Make sure you happen to be next up verbal conversations or email messages with memos you can set in the file [and] undertaking things as contemporaneously as doable,” Freimann mentioned.