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New York Issues Guidance: Adult Use Cannabis and the Workplace

Marijuana plant

As Hire Image reported in March of this year, New York legalized recreational marijuana, including a prohibition on discrimination for employers. The New York State Department of Labor recently issued guidance in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help guide employers in certain scenarios. A few of those FAQs are listed here:

Can an employer take action against an employee for using cannabis on the job?

An employer is not prohibited from taking employment action against an employee if the employee is impaired by cannabis while working (including where the employer has not adopted an explicit policy prohibiting use), meaning the employee manifests specific articulable symptoms of impairment that:

  • Decrease or lessen the performance of their duties or tasks
  • Interfere with an employer’s obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace, free from recognized hazards, as required by state and federal occupational safety and health laws


Can employers prohibit use of cannabis during periods in which an employee is on-call?

Yes, employers may prohibit cannabis during “work hours,” which includes time that the employee is on-call or “expected to be engaged in work.”


Can employers prohibit cannabis possession at work?

Yes, employers may prohibit employees from bringing cannabis onto the employer’s property, including leased and rented space, company vehicles, and areas used by employees within such property (e.g., lockers, desks, etc.).


Can an employer test for cannabis?

No, unless the employer is permitted to do so pursuant to the provisions of Labor Law Section 201-D(4-a) or other applicable laws.


Click here for the full FAQs.

For more information on Medical or Recreational Marijuana, and whether they affect your state, visit our resource guide at the Hire Image Resource Library.


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