New Cannabis HR Laws
Employees working in the soon to be legal Canadian cannabis market will not have the right to smoke or consume cannabis in the workplace.
Employers have a right to set the rules cannabis hr laws for non-medical use of marijuana in the workplace just as they make the rules for use of alcohol & tobacco. In particular, employers may prohibit the use of marijuana at work or during working hours and may also prohibit employees from attending work while impaired.
As required by provincial and federal human rights legislation, employees are to be adjusted in the same way employers accommodate any other disabled employee who has been prescribed medication.
What Can You As an Employer Do?
Employers may need to revisit workplace policies that address drug and alcohol use, with attention to two competing obligations: on the one hand, employers have a duty to accommodate disabled employees, and medical marijuana is used to treat medical conditions that constitute a “disability”.
On the other hand, employers must take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of their workplaces and they continue to have the right to prohibit impairment on the job. Valuation of impairment at work could prove to be the most difficult aspect of creating and implementing policies with regards to the use of marijuana laws.
Employers faced with a cannabis problem may wish to consider providing similar measures as it does for other disabled employees. These measures could include moving the employee out of a safety-sensitive position, providing more frequent breaks, implementing alternative scheduling; or altering the employee’s duties, etc.
The changes to the laws of marijuana have created unique challenges for employers. To accommodate an employee who uses medical marijuana, an employer can start by mirroring the practices that the company has already developed for accommodating any employee who has been prescribed drugs that have the potential to impact or impair his or her work.
To limit the use of non-medical marijuana at work, an employer can look to existing practices related to use of alcohol, other prescription drugs or cigarettes.
Nevertheless, there will be some changes. Honestly, it is likely that zero tolerance workplace policies for marijuana use or possession will become unenforceable. We may also see employees begin to request or negotiate for coverage under health and benefits plans for medical marijuana prescriptions.
With time many issues and uncertainties surrounding the use of marijuana will be litigated. We will be provided with lessons from the Courts and tribunals as to how an employer can best ensure that it fulfills its human rights obligations, while also ensuring the workplace remains safe and productive.