As the landscape of marijuana legalization evolves, so does its impact on job seekers. If you choose to partake, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities at work. Here is what you should know about marijuana and the workplace.
Federal Contractors and the Transportation Industry
Marijuana legalization has not yet extended to the federal level. This means that if you take a job at a place that has federal contracts, you should expect a zero-tolerance policy. You will likely have to take a pre-employment drug test, as well as random tests throughout your employment.
Likewise, the Department of Transportation has a simple rule: If a commercial driver tests positive for marijuana or any other drug, that’s grounds for automatic termination. Even if it’s perfectly legal in your state, using marijuana on or off the clock will likely result in losing your job.
Testing “for Cause”
Most companies that are not federal contractors or in the transportation industry are now moving away from pre-employment and random drug tests in states where marijuana is legal. But many of them still test “for cause.” In essence, this means that if you are suspected of being under the influence of any drug, including marijuana, while at work, you may be drug tested. Remember, legalization only applies to your private life. Just like alcohol, employers can forbid you from using marijuana on work time.
Know Your State’s Laws
Each state’s laws surrounding legalization are slightly different. Some will protect you from adverse actions taken against you based on a positive marijuana test. Others will not. Before you decide to use recreational marijuana, especially while job hunting, make sure you understand exactly what your rights are under the law.
Legalization is still a bit of a minefield for job seekers, with a patchwork of different laws and employer responses across the country. If you’re in a marijuana-friendly state and want some help negotiating your job hunt, consider partnering with a staffing agency.
Many companies are modifying their marijuana testing policies as laws change. We know the latest laws and employer trends, and we can help you find the right fit. Best of all, our services are completely free for job hunters!
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