Starting on January 1, 2024, employers in California will no longer be able to legally discriminate against employees and applicants who use cannabis outside of the workplace. Additionally, the new law will make it illegal to discriminate based on employer-required drug tests that detect nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites.
What changes should employers make to prepare for this new legislation?
Be aware of exceptions
Employees in the construction and building trades, and employees and applicants hired for jobs that require a government background check or security clearance are exempt from the new law. Additionally, the new law will not impact any drug testing requirements enacted by state or federal law.
Review your drug testing methods
If you are an employer currently conducting drug screening of employees, make sure you stop using tests that check for the presence of nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites. Switch to tests that only detect impairment.
Update your drug screening and EEO policies
Your drug screening and EEO policies should make it clear that you will not take adverse actions against employees based on cannabis use that occurs when employees are not working and that any required drug screens only check for impairment on the job. Update your EEO policies to include off-duty cannabis use as a protected category.
Train your employees
Provide training for your human resources employees on the new law to ensure they know the new anti-discrimination requirements and limitations on drug testing. They should also be able to explain the company’s revised drug policies to employees.
Companies that currently test for cannabis use when screening applicants or testing current employees must ensure that their policies are compliant with the new law by January 1, 2024.