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Thursday
Feb032005

Don't Let an Employee Play the Marijuana Card

Employers in Oregon and other states allowing medical marijuana must address what they will do if an employee obtains a medical marijuana card.

One of my clients has already faced this problem. Fortunately, they had an up-to-date employee handbook that I prepared. The handbook specifically addressed medical marijuana. When the employee came forward, he could not argue that he was being treated differently than others. The policy was put into place before the employee even came forward.

You can require employees using medical marijuana to notify you in advance. You can prevent such users from working in a particular position if you have safety concerns. You can also require that employees not be under the influence of marijuana during the hours they are working for you.

It is crucial that you have a plan in place before an employee "plays the marijuana card."

DO: Do adopt an effective medical marijuana policy.

DO: Do review all of your employment policies once a year.

DO: Do revise your employee handbook each year to address issues that have arisen in your workplace, issues that have created problems for other employees in your community and issues that have been the subject of disputes in other parts of the country.

DO: Do require signed handbook receipts from each employee each year when you distribute your revised handbook.

DO: Do use written job descriptions that describe the essential functions and secondary functions of each job, the equipment used (if any) and the physical demands. When evaluating whether you can accommodate an employee's medical marijuana use in a particular job and whether there are safety concerns is vital information.

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