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Drug Testing And Drug-Free Workplace Policies
On May 17, 2021, Governor Kay Ivey signed Alabama’s brand-new medical cannabis law, called the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act, making Alabama the 37th state to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. The law identifies specific qualifying medical conditions, including however not limited to autism spectrum condition (ASD); cancer-related cachexia, queasiness or vomiting, weight loss, or chronic pain; Crohn’s disease; anxiety; epilepsy or a condition triggering seizures; and HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss. While the law grants individuals with these health conditions access to medical cannabis, it supplies almost no employment defenses for doing so, and imposes no new obligations on companies.
No New Employment Protections
As more states have actually enacted medical cannabis programs, they have taken varying methods on work protections for taking part people. Alabama’s brand-new law makes it clear that, in the employment context, there are no brand-new legal securities or recourse for individuals who use medical cannabis. To that end, one of the law’s specified functions is to «stabilize the needs of employers to have a strong operating workforce with the requirements of workers who will genuinely gain from using cannabis for a Medical Marijuana Online Registry usage in a way that makes the staff member an efficient staff member.»
Drug Testing and Drug-Free Workplace Policies. Alabama employers are still allowed to establish and implement drug screening and drug-free office policies. Employers may decline to employ, discharge, discipline, or otherwise take unfavorable action against individuals who utilize medical cannabis, regardless of whether the individual is under the impact from such use.
Notification of Status as a Card Holder. Employers can require staff members to inform the employer if the staff member possesses a medical cannabis card.
Accommodations for Medical Marijuana Users. Employers are not required to allow, accommodate, or allow the use of medical cannabis or customize task or working conditions for workers who utilize medical cannabis.
Relationship to DOT and Other Federal Regulations. The law particularly states that it does not interfere with, impair or impede any federal constraints on work, consisting of but not limited to those established pursuant to the United States Department of Transportation regulations.
No Private Right of Action. The law expressly specifies that it does not establish a personal right of action for individuals to pursue legal action versus an employer associated to any actions the employer takes due to a person’s use of medical cannabis.
Relationship to Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Benefits. The law explicitly offers that companies can continue to get employees’ payment premium discount rates for keeping drug-free work environment policies pursuant to the Alabama employees’ payment statute. Furthermore, employers may continue to reject or establish legal defenses to the payment of workers’ compensation advantages to a worker on the basis of a favorable drug test or refusal to send to or cooperate with a drug test. Finally, the law provides that an individual who is discharged from work based upon their usage of medical cannabis, or rejection to send to or comply with a drug test, will be «legally conclusively presumed to have been released for misconduct» for functions of welfare if certain conditions are otherwise fulfilled.
Physicians Required to Notify Patients of Employment Risks
Alabama’s law requires physicians who license individuals as having qualifying medical conditions to acquire the patients’ composed grant use medical cannabis. The physicians need to utilize a standardized consent kind that encourages clients that «using medical cannabis might lead to termination from work without recourse and that expenses might not be covered by insurance or federal government programs.»
Managing for Compliance
While the brand-new law does not mandate specific changes, Alabama employers should evaluate their internal policies and practices regarding candidates and workers who use medical cannabis.
The content of this post is planned to provide a general guide to the subject. Specialist recommendations need to be looked for about your specific situations.