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Drug Testing And Drug-Free Workplace Policies
On May 17, 2021, Governor Kay Ivey signed Alabama’s new medical cannabis law, known as the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act, making Alabama the 37th state to legalize cannabis for medical functions. The law recognizes particular certifying medical conditions, consisting of but not limited to autism spectrum disorder (ASD); cancer-related cachexia, nausea or throwing up, weight loss, or persistent pain; Crohn’s disease; anxiety; epilepsy or a condition causing seizures; and HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss. While the law grants individuals with these health conditions access to Medical Marijuana Alabama cannabis, it provides nearly no employment securities for doing so, and enforces no new obligations on companies.
No New Employment Protections
As more states have enacted medical cannabis programs, they have actually taken differing methods on employment defenses for getting involved people. Alabama’s brand-new law makes it clear that, in the work context, there are no brand-new legal securities or recourse for people who utilize medical cannabis. To that end, one of the law’s mentioned purposes is to «stabilize the requirements of companies to have a strong functioning workforce with the needs of staff members who will genuinely gain from utilizing cannabis for a medical use in a way that makes the worker an efficient worker.»
The new Alabama law continues a number of crucial arrangements making it clear that companies may continue to restrict cannabis use as part of their drug-free workplace policies, including:
Drug Testing and Drug-Free Workplace Policies. Alabama employers are still allowed to develop and impose drug screening and drug-free work environment policies. Employers may decline to work with, release, discipline, or otherwise take adverse action versus people who utilize medical cannabis, no matter whether the individual is under the impact from such usage.
Notification of Status as a Card Holder. Employers can require employees to inform the company if the employee has a medical cannabis card.
Accommodations for Medical Marijuana Users. Employers are not required to permit, accommodate, or enable the usage of medical cannabis or modify job or working conditions for staff members who use medical cannabis.
Relationship to DOT and Other Federal Regulations. The law specifically states that it does not interfere with, hinder or restrain any federal constraints on employment, including but not limited to those developed pursuant to the United States Department of Transportation regulations.
No Private Right of Action. The law specifically states that it does not establish a personal right of action for individuals to pursue legal action versus an employer related to any actions the company takes due to an individual’s use of medical cannabis.
Relationship to Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Benefits. The law clearly offers that employers can continue to receive employees’ compensation premium discount rates for preserving drug-free workplace policies pursuant to the Alabama employees’ payment statute. Furthermore, employers might continue to reject or establish legal defenses to the payment of workers’ compensation advantages to a worker on the basis of a positive drug test or rejection to send to or work together with a drug test. Finally, the law supplies that an individual who is discharged from work based on their usage of medical cannabis, or rejection to send to or cooperate with a drug test, will be «lawfully conclusively presumed to have actually been released for misbehavior» for purposes of welfare if certain conditions are otherwise satisfied.
Physicians Required to Notify Patients of Employment Risks
Alabama’s law needs physicians who certify individuals as having certifying medical conditions to obtain the patients’ written grant use medical cannabis. The doctors should utilize a standardized authorization kind that advises patients that «using medical cannabis might result in termination from employment without option and that expenses might not be covered by insurance coverage or government programs.»
Managing for Compliance
While the new law does not mandate specific modifications, Alabama employers need to evaluate their internal policies and practices relating to applicants and workers who utilize medical cannabis.
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