Why Amazon’s updated marijuana drug testing policy could have ‘ripple effect’

As laws shielding grownup use of the two health-related and leisure cannabis use spread, the second-most significant employer in the U.S. is changing its tune on drug screening.

In a June site put up, Amazon explained it “will no for a longer period include marijuana in our complete drug screening application” for employment that are not regulated by the U.S. Division of Transportation. As a substitute, the firm said it would treat cannabis use the exact as alcohol use.

The announcement was surprising even with Amazon’s standing as a craze-setter from a business functions point of view, Michael Freimann, associate at Greenspoon Marder, told HR Dive. But the information could have a “ripple effect” on how other employers strategy cannabis testing relocating forward, he additional, because of to the fact that a lot more and extra jurisdictions have executed marijuana use legislation.

Currently, 18 states as properly as Washington, D.C., have adopted laws that legalize some type of grownup recreational use, according to the National Convention of Condition Legislatures. States extra to the list in 2021 include Connecticut, New Mexico, New York and Virginia.

Inside some of these statutes, states have added provisions that incorporate various types of protections for task applicants’ use of marijuana. In 2019, Nevada became the initial point out to prohibit businesses from refusing to employ the service of task applicants — with exceptions for some roles — on the foundation of a good marijuana take a look at.

This 12 months, two states adopted up with comparable guidelines. In February, New Jersey enacted a regulation stating that businesses may possibly not refuse to use and could not just take adverse work actions from personnel simply because of cannabis use or solely for the reason that of the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in the employee’s bodily fluid that benefits from carry out permitted under state regulation. In April, neighboring point out New York adopted legislation prohibiting employment discrimination against personnel based on hashish use prior to the beginning of or after the conlusion of their do the job several hours, off the employer’s premises and without having the use of the employer’s gear or assets.

Amazon is not on your own in adopting policies that get new legal guidelines into account. Following passage of Virginia’s recreational use laws this 12 months, the town governing administration of Norfolk, Virginia, dropped drug tests demands for a lot of job types, conserve for specified “safety delicate” positions, area information outlet WAVY-Television documented.

The solution may possibly unfold as employers request uniformity in their drug-tests procedures amid a fractured legal landscape, according to Freimann.

“We’re setting up to see a development of states using these up coming measures,” he included. “Amazon’s announcement is a way to get in advance of the curve.”

But that does not necessarily mean many companies will fall drug screening requirements completely, even for marijuana like Amazon, businesses will very likely have to have to retain in place needs for positions regulated by DOT, Freimann claimed. And quite a few states that have legalized leisure use nonetheless permit employers to build policies prohibiting that use, no matter whether on- or off-obligation. Some others spell out the ability of businesses to create insurance policies that help in protecting safe and sound workplaces.

“Security will even now be paramount,” Freimann explained, introducing that businesses across the board may well practice professionals to detect whether or not an employee is beneath the affect of hashish, comparable to alcohol and other medications. Even in workplaces that moved remote through the pandemic, companies ongoing drug testing regimens, employment regulation experts previously told HR Dive.

Asked how an employer might employ a adjust in coverage related to Amazon, Freimann claimed HR groups may need to have to initial critique their staff handbooks and insurance policies to establish existing compliance actions and instruction protocols. From there, businesses can discover which careers they will continue testing protocols for, and which types they will not.

Off-responsibility conduct is most likely to be a crucial thought “If another person did appear to perform and use marijuana recreationally when they have been off-responsibility, how are we dealing with that man or woman?” Freimann explained.

Moreover, companies want to ensure that the definition of “fair suspicion” inside of their guidelines “is perfectly-outlined and comprehended” in the group, which include throughout teaching, he mentioned. If a manager decides an personnel is impaired by cannabis use, “they have to articulate why they have affordable suspicion to do that,” Freimann spelled out.

Documentation is also vital. “Make confident you are next up verbal discussions or email messages with memos you can set in the file [and] accomplishing points as contemporaneously as doable,” Freimann explained.