Employers in New York State Can’t Discriminate Against Marijuana Users
With the legalization of marijuana in New York State, employers now have to abide by new rules when it comes to marijuana use by employees. The New York Department of Labor recently released guidelines for companies when it comes to their workers' recreational use of cannabis. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act has amended Section 201-D of the New York Labor Law now that marijuana is legal for adult recreational use in the state,
As such, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on the employee’s use of cannabis outside of the workplace, outside of work hours, and without use of the employer’s equipment or property.
Basically, the amendment now tells employers to mind their own business. If an employee is using weed during their free time and not using company property or time, the company cannot fire or punish the employee. Now don't get too excited, you can't freely walk around work with a lit joint. That still won't fly. Companies are permitted to ban cannabis use during a worker's hours on the job, and even if the employee is "on call." Plus, there are some exemptions where employers can actually discriminate,
• An employer is/was required to take such action by state or federal statute, regulation, or ordinance, or other state or federal governmental mandate
• The employer would be in violation of federal law
• The employer would lose a federal contract or federal funding
• The employee, while working, manifests specific articulable symptoms of cannabis impairment that decrease or lessen the employee’s performance of the employee’s tasks or duties
• The employee, while working, manifests specific articulable symptoms of cannabis impairment that interfere with the employer’s obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace as required by state and federal workplace safety laws
Your employer can also ban you from having marijuana in your possession while you are at work. If you work from home, you are partially protected as the guidelines state,
The Department of Labor does not consider an employee’s private residence being used for remote work a “worksite” within the meaning of Labor Law Section 201-D. However, an employer may take action if an employee is exhibiting articulable symptoms of impairment during work hours as described above and may institute a general policy prohibiting use during working hours.
If you are a recreational marijuana user or plan to become one, you can check out the guidelines in full here.