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New Jersey: Adds Protections to Medical Marijuana Use by Employees

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July 2, 2019

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As of July 2, 2019, the Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act now prohibits employers from taking any adverse employment action against a qualified employee based solely on the employee’s status as a registered medical marijuana user. The law applies to employees who have been authorized by a healthcare provider to use medical marijuana, and are registered as such with the state. Additionally, employees have the right to explain drug test results and the employer must provide written notice of their right to explain.

The Act now makes clear that employers can prohibit possession or use of marijuana during work hours or on the premises of the workplace outside of work hours. Additionally, the Act does not require an employer to take action that would cause the employer to be in violation of federal law, lose a licensing-related benefit, or lose a federal contract or funding.

Action Items

  1. Have employment handbooks and substance abuse policies updated consistent with the new law.
  2. Update drug testing procedures for notice requirements and protections.
  3. Have managers trained on recognizing signs of impairment and how to handle workplace substance abuse.
  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.

© 2019 ManagEase

New Mexico: What’s New in New Mexico? A Lot of Employment Laws

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All Employers with NM Employees

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June 14, 2019 (Unless otherwise noted)

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New Mexico employers, brace yourselves: new employment laws are coming.  The state legislature has enacted a flurry of new laws that affect employment practices, covering a variety of areas like gender-neutral bathrooms, unions, health benefits, medical marijuana, and leave time.  Below is a summary of key provisions in these legislative updates.  Unless otherwise noted, all provisions will take effect on June 14, 2019.

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New Hampshire: Medical Marijuana May Be a Reimbursable Workers’ Compensation Expense

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All Employers with NH Employees

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March 7, 2019

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The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently stated that a workers’ compensation carrier could not deny an employee’s request for reimbursement of medical marijuana to treat a work-related injury.  In the Appeal of Andrew Panaggio, an employee suffered a lower back injury that resulted in permanent impairment and ongoing pain.  He was prescribed opioids to treat the pain, but due to negative side effects, he was later issued a cannabis registration card authorizing medical marijuana use.  However, the workers’ compensation carrier denied payment of the medical marijuana, alleging that it was not “reasonable/necessary or causally related” to the work injury.

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New Jersey: Medical Marijuana Protected from Workplace Discrimination

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All Employers with NJ Employees

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March 27, 2019

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In Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., the New Jersey Court of Appeal stated that although the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act does not prohibit discrimination for use of medical marijuana, the Law Against Discrimination (LAD) may. There, an employee used medical marijuana as part of his cancer treatment. While driving for work, the employee was struck by another vehicle that ran a stop sign. Although the emergency room treating physician did not observe the employee to be under the influence and did not perform a blood test noting that the employee had a medical marijuana card, the employer required a blood test before the employee could return to work and ultimately terminated him.

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April Updates

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Varies

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Varies

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This Short List addresses the following topics:
  1. OFCCP: Corporate Scheduling Announcement List Published for Federal Contractors
  2. VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark Lowered for Affirmative Action Plans
  3. Fifth Circuit: Independent Contractor Classification in Oilfield Industry Re-visited
  4. California: NEW Posting Requirement as of April 1, 2019
  5. California: Required Employee Pamphlets Updated
  6. California: Employers Are Liable for Wage and Hour Claims Without Accurate Time Records
  7. Reminder: San Francisco 2018 Employer Reporting Deadline is April 30, 2019
  8. San Francisco, CA: Minimum Wage to Increase July 1, 2019
  9. Massachusetts: State and Federal Overtime Exemptions are Not Identical
  10. Michigan: Paid Sick Leave FAQ’s and Poster Released
  11. New York: 24-Hour Home Care Pay Decided by Court of Appeal
  12. Oklahoma: Medical Marijuana Accommodations Clarified
  13. South Carolina: Labs Liable to Workers for False Positive Drug Tests

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Oklahoma: Voters Legalize Medical Marijuana Use

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All Employers with OK Employees

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July 26, 2018

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(888) 378-2456

Oklahoma voters recently approved a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana use, making the state the 30th in the nation to permit such use.  Unlike some other states, the Oklahoma measure allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for any medical condition, rather than restricting its use to treating specific conditions.

Under the new law, patients who are legally prescribed medical marijuana will receive state ID cards and are permitted to carry up to 3 ounces of cannabis in public.  Additional amounts of cannabis, as well as up to six cannabis plants, may be stored in the patient’s home.

The ballot measure as drafted also contains anti-discrimination protections for medical marijuana license holders.  Employers are generally prohibited from discriminating against license holders when making hiring or termination decisions, or when imposing any term or condition of employment that penalizes an individual solely based on their status as a medical marijuana license holder or results of a drug test positive for marijuana or its components, unless failure to do so would cause the employer to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law.  Additionally, employers are still free to take action against employees who use or possess marijuana on the employer’s premises or during hours of employment.

Action Items

  1. Review the text of the ballot measure here.
  2. Have substance abuse policies and drug testing protocols updated for compliance.
  3. Have managers trained on new permissions.
  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

New Jersey: Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana Use Expanded

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All Employers with NJ Employees

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March 27, 2018

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(888) 378-2456

Although New Jersey has legalized medical marijuana use since 2010, a recent executive order greatly expands the conditions for which individuals may apply for medical marijuana.  Previously, medical marijuana was approved to treat specified conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDs, and any terminal illness, among others.  Effective March 27, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Health has added five new categories of conditions that may be treated with medical marijuana.

Connecticut: Federal Law Does Not Preempt Medical Marijuana Protections for Employees under State Law

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All Employers with CT Employees

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August 8, 2017

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In Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company LLC, a Connecticut federal district court stated that federal law concerning unlawful marijuana use does not necessarily preempt state-level protections for marijuana users.  In this case, Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (“PUMA”) was found to preempt a handful of federal statutes when applied to the employment context.  This decision could have a major impact on employers who currently implement a zero-tolerance substance abuse policy in the workplace.

Florida: Medical Marijuana Now Legalized

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All Employers with FL Employees

EFFECTIVE

June 23, 2017

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Last November, Florida voters approved an initiative to legalize the use of medical marijuana.  On June 23, 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed SB 8-A into law.

As of June 23, 2017, medical marijuana use has been legalized in Florida to treat specific qualifying conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, or PTSD, among others.  The bill contains additional provisions directing how medical marijuana may be used and obtained; for example, smoking of medical marijuana is prohibited, whereas consumption of marijuana, vaping, or use of oils, sprays, or tinctures is permitted.

Importantly, the bill also includes employer-friendly provisions that allow businesses to still enforce a drug-free workplace, such as:

  • Employers may establish, or continue to enforce, a drug-free workplace program or policy;
  • Employers are not required to permit use of medical marijuana at the place of employment;
  • Employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana in the workplace, or to accommodate any employee working under the influence of marijuana;
  • Medical marijuana is not reimbursable under the Florida Workers’ Compensation law; and
  • SB 8-A does not create any cause of action against employers for wrongful discharge or discrimination related to use of medical marijuana.

Employers with and without policies addressing substance abuse may are recommended to specifically address the organization’s position on medical marijuana use.

Action Items

  1. Read the text of SB 8-A here.
  2. Have handbooks and policy documents reviewed regarding substance abuse to address medical marijuana use.
  3. 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.

© 2017 ManagEase, Incorporated.

Massachusetts: Employers Must Follow Disability Accommodation Rules for Employees Using Medical Marijuana

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All Employers with Massachusetts Employees

EFFECTIVE

July 17, 2017

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that an employee may pursue a disability discrimination claim under state law against an employer for failure to accommodate the employee’s use of medical marijuana.  In Baruto v. Advantage Sales and Marking, LLC, the plaintiff was told after accepting an offer of employment that she needed to complete a successful drug test.  She informed her employer that she would fail the test due to medical marijuana use for Crohn’s disease. However, she agreed that she would not use marijuana before or during work. The plaintiff failed the drug test as predicted, and ultimately was terminated as a result based on federal law’s treatment of marijuana.