With legalization of adult-use cannabis expected in New York state, employers will need to consider changes to current workplace policies. Harris Beach labor attorney Brendan Kelleher offered his perspective in a recent Buffalo Business First article.
“The challenge for employers is how they want to regulate usage among employees, how and when they want to test for it and worries that employees could be under the influence,” Brendan said. He added that current laws for medicinal cannabis prohibit discrimination of those who use it as a form of treatment. People, however, do not have free rein to use it during their workday and employers have the ability to discipline anyone who is impaired at work.
Federally cannabis remains illegal, which has left employers with operations around the country to decide if they want to change policies on a state-by-state basis or keep rules they have traditionally had in place. Kelleher said that legalization in New York state, however, would likely trigger protections through the labor law. “That would limit an employer’s ability to say they want to be a completely cannabis-free workplace,” he said.