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California bill aims to end workplace marijuana discrimination

On Behalf of | May 30, 2022 | Workplace Discrimination |

Your employer can’t fire you because you had a beer or a glass of wine with your dinner at home. They also can’t fire you because a drug test shows traces of a prescribed medication in your system.

Why, then, should they be able to fire you because you use marijuana – which is legal for adults in this state to buy and consume – when you’re on your own time? If Assembly Bill (AB) 2188 becomes law, they won’t have that option.

AB 2188 would expand the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

The new bill would still permit a few exemptions (already codified under existing laws) for employers who need to maintain a strict drug-free workplace. It also will not stop employers from firing an employee for being under the active influence of marijuana on the job. An employer wouldn’t be able to demand a random drug screening and use the positive test result for cannabis metabolites as an excuse to fire the employee.

Advocates for the legislation say it is needed to give many people who rely on cannabis products when they’re not working to treat a variety of painful and potentially debilitating conditions protections against discrimination that their peers don’t face. Meanwhile, those opposed to the bill are particularly concerned about the cost and feasibility of tests that will distinguish between the psychoactive and non-psychoactive traces of the drugs in a user’s system.

It remains to be seen how much traction AB 2188 will gain, but it’s a sign of a step in the right direction. Workplace discrimination is never acceptable. If you’ve been unfairly treated because of your differences from your peers, it may be time to seek legal guidance.