As of mid-2019, 34 states and DC have legalized medical marijuana use for qualifying patients, which has resulted in many employers who now have workers using medical marijuana for a variety of conditions, some of which are protected under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). OSHA has also entered the compliance mix, releasing its new policy on drug testing of injured workers. To add to this complexity, state laws are also rapidly evolving, with more decisions favoring employees and applicants who are medical cannabis patients. Some states are even ordering employers to pay for medical marijuana as treatment for workplace injuries!
Similarly, opioids – both on and off the job – have had a drastic impact on the workplace and workplace safety; 70 percent of employers have suffered adverse consequences from opioid addiction among workers. The US has declared opiate addiction a public health crisis, with some 60,000 persons dying each year. This crisis spills over into the workplace, but addressing it is further complicated by legal use, HIPAA, and protections of the ADA.
As such, understanding the evolving case law, which now offers more protection to cannabis patients and places more burdens on employers to justify “zero tolerance” approaches, is critical in keeping a workplace safe and staying out of court. In addition to a company’s own employees, the increasing use of third-party workers (temporaries, contractors, and day laborers) can also present challenges in maintaining a drug-free workplace. Among other things, quantifying impairment for purposes of safety management adds to these complexities. Employers must also understand what is required to meet the legal tests when offering the ADA’s “Direct Threat to Safety” affirmative defense.
In this practical webinar, you will receive detailed guidance on the various ramifications of medical marijuana legalization from a workplace safety perspective. You will also learn to effectively address the interlocking HR issues with cannabis and opioid use.
Upon course completion, you will be able to:
- Distinguish between legal use of prescribed opiates and the use of non-prescription opioids and medical cannabis in the employment context
- Determine how to offer and document efforts at reasonable accommodation under the ADA, and when the “direct threat to safety” defense can be applicable
- Effectively structure substance abuse prevention programs when working in a variety of states that may have conflicting medical cannabis laws
- Determine which positions may be “safety sensitive” and how to document such determinations in a way that can pass legal muster
- Identify, under which circumstances, OSHA can issue citations of up to $132,000 to employers who improperly drug test injured workers, and how this aligns with protections under Section 11C of the OSH Act
- Explain why impairment is a key issue in medical cannabis and opiates matters in the workplace, and how this is determined or quantified.