The state of Utah recently confirmed that employers will not be required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana by employees. The Utah Medical Cannabis Act, passed in 2018, requires that public employers accommodate medical cannabis use by employees, unless use “would jeopardize federal funding, a federal security clearance, or any other federal background determination required for the employee’s position.” But the law did not include any information about accommodation requirements of private employers.
Just last week, an amendment was signed into law by the Governor of Utah that states:
Nothing in this section requires a private employer to accommodate the use of medical cannabis or affects the ability of a private employer to have policies restricting the use of medical cannabis by applicants or employees.
This means that companies that choose to have a zero-tolerance policy for drug use can continue to include marijuana in their drug testing programs for both newly hired, and existing employees.
Each company should carefully consider the impact that medical and recreational drug use could have on their organization. What is most important when it comes to drug testing programs is ensuring the safety of employees and protecting your company from unnecessary liability due to the actions of impaired employees.
Even if a Utah employee has a legal prescription for a substance (marijuana or narcotics), it may not be safe for the employee to perform work with taking those substances. For example, any of your employees that operate machinery or vehicles in the course of their job may need to be 100% free from any impairment in order to safely perform their job. Employers should also consider any Federal contracts or insurance policies (such as workers’ compensation) they may have that require drug testing or zero-tolerance drug policies.
Please keep in mind, that the possession and use of marijuana is illegal according to Federal law and state laws are rapidly changing. Because the laws are so varied around the country, if you have questions about drug testing and marijuana legislation in other states, please reach out to our Helpside HR team at firstname.lastname@example.org.