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California Bans Employer Cannabis Inquiries and Testing


Effective January 1, 2024: California employers are prohibited from discriminating “against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalizing a person, if the discrimination is based upon any of the following: (A) The person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace. This paragraph does not prohibit an employer from discriminating in hiring, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person based on scientifically valid preemployment drug screening conducted through methods that do not screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites. (B) An employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids.”

Under the law, employers may not ask for information regarding prior cannabis use from the applicant or rely on such information that has been discovered in a criminal background check unless otherwise allowed under California’s Fair Chance law, other state laws, or federal laws. However, the law does not “permit an employee to possess, to be impaired by, or to use, cannabis on the job, or affect the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.”

Building and construction employers and those who are required to conduct federal background checks or clearances are excluded from the new law’s provisions.

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