On Monday, I blogged here about an employee using CBD for her migraines who accused her employer of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. It fired her after she tested positive for marijuana on a drug test at work. One of my takeaways from the post was that particular state and local laws may raise the bar for terminating someone who uses medical or recreational marijuana outside of work.
Well, I’m going to assume that the City Council of Washington, D.C. read my blog and was helping me prove my point.
On Tuesday, it unanimously passed a bill making it unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire, terminate, discipline, or fail to promote someone based upon:
- the individual’s use of cannabis;
- the individual’s status as a medical cannabis program patient; or
- the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in an individual’s bodily fluids in an employer-required or requested drug test without additional factors indicating impairment.
There are some exceptions for safety-sensitive positions. Also, put down the gummy if you work for the federal government, or if federal law otherwise requires an employer to drug test. Plus, nothing about this law will greenlight marijuana use, possession, sales, or impairment at work.
Can employees sue their employers for violating the law? Sure, after exhausting administrative remedies first. They can try to recover civil penalties, lost wages, compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and other equitable relief.
But the bill is not yet law. Mayor Muriel Bowser needs to sign it first. If and when she does, Washington DC will join many other states and cities that have already implemented protections for recreational marijuana users.