Connecticut: Employees Have Medical Marijuana Protection for Use During Off-Work Hours

APPLIES TO

All Employers with CT Employees

EFFECTIVE

September 5, 2018

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(888) 378-2456

In Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company LLC, a Connecticut federal judge stated that no federal law prohibits off-work hours use of medical marijuana, as protected under the states’ Palliative User of Marijuana Act (PUMA). There, an applicant advised the employer during the pre-hire process that she used medical marijuana, as permitted under PUMA, at night during off-work hours to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. After testing positive for cannabis in her pre-employment drug test, the employer rescinded the offer of employment. The federal district court rejected the employer’s zero-tolerance drug policy in favor of PUMA’s protections, stating that the federal Drug Free Workplace Act (DFWA) only prohibits use and possession of illegal drugs while at work. Finally, although not expressly provided in the act, the court stated that PUMA implies a cause of action for discrimination. Otherwise, PUMA “would have no practical effect, because the law does not provide for any other enforcement mechanism.”

Action Items

  1. Have hiring practices and drug testing procedures reviewed to ensure compliance with PUMA and federal law.
  2. Have substance abuse policies updated.
  3. Have job descriptions reviewed to ensure compliance with federal and state laws, including essential functions of the job.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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