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If marijuana is legal, can your employer test you for it?

As long as you are over 21 years of age, you can legally use marijuana in California. There are certain restrictions of course. For example, you cannot use it in public places and you cannot do so while driving. But what about while at work?

Your employer still gets to dictate what happens on their premises. They can implement rules to forbid anyone from bringing or using marijuana on their premises (although they might need to make an exception for someone with a license to use it for medical purposes).

What about testing?

California’s Assembly Bill 2188 came into force in January of this year to clarify the issue. Employers are allowed to test people. They can ask someone to take a test if they have reason to think they are impaired by the drug at the time. They can also, in some circumstances, ask people to take tests without evidence of impairment. Testing every employee as standard might not hold, but testing anyone in charge of driving vehicles before they head out each day might.

What can employers do if you fail a test?

An employer cannot fire you or refuse to hire you just for failing a test. They may, however, be able to do so if the test shows you are impaired. Marijuana stays in the body for a long time, but its ability to affect you diminishes sooner. The results would need to show psychoactive traces as opposed to non-psychoactive traces. They’d need to show the marijuana you have in your body is still impairing your ability to do your job.

Maybe you think your employer has made an illegal decision based on your marijuana use. Perhaps you feel they breached your rights when choosing to test you over others. If so, you may want legal help to learn more about California’s employment laws relating to marijuana.

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