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California Amends Anti-Discrimination Law to Protect Off-Duty Use of Cannabis


Effective January 1, 2024: California employers will be prohibited from discriminating against an applicant or employee based on the “person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace,” according to an amendment to California’s Antidiscrimination Law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The law specifically notes that THC remains in the body for a period of time after impairment and as such, does not indicate impairment on the job.

The amendment prohibits employers 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” on either of the following:

  • The person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.
  • 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.

The law excludes from its purview employees in the building and construction trades, those hired for positions that require a federal government background investigation or security clearance, or those subject to state or federal law requirements for employees to be tested for controlled substances as a condition of employment to receive federal funding or enter into a federal contract.

Notably, the law does not allow an employee to possess or use marijuana in the workplace. Additionally, it specifically states that it does not affect “the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.”

California employers should review their hiring policies and employment drug screening procedures to ensure they do not make any adverse employment decisions based on an applicant’s or employee’s off-duty marijuana use to comply with these provisions before the effective date.

Click here for more information.

For more information on Medical or Recreational Marijuana, and whether they affect your state, visit our Resource Guide at the Hire Image Resource Library. If you have any questions about how to best protect your business, employees, and customers, please contact us.

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