To screen or not to screen? For all intents and purposes, pre-employment screenings are one of the best ways employers can protect their company and workforce by ensuring sound hiring choices. But when it comes to marijuana screenings, the rules have changed a bit. To date, 18 states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, with other states having legalized it for medical use only. Though still illegal federally, refusing an employee on the basis of a marijuana screening could lead to legal issues if you operate in a state where the drug is now legal. Employers need to be up to date and prepared to make the best possible choice when it comes to pre-employment screening.
What to consider
There are arguments on both sides of the coin for continuing to screen for marijuana use, or for removing it from your pre-employment screening process. Removing it could help you increase the pool of candidates and make it easier to fill open positions. Since any type of screening adds to hiring costs, removing a layer (such as marijuana screening) could also help you reduce your hiring budget. For employees not in a safety-sensitive position, there’s less concern for safety-related issues involving marijuana use. Not to mention, you’ll be able to avoid legal issues that can arise by continuing to screen for a substance that’s been legalized or decriminalized in your state.
To address this issue, many employers are considering marijuana as an intoxicating substance similar to alcohol. While their company policy includes rules forbidding employees to work under the influence of alcohol, they’re including similar policies for working under the influence of marijuana. Employees are free to make their own choices off the clock, but cannot be under the influence during work hours. Like alcohol, marijuana use can place employees and their coworkers in danger, depending on their job role and responsibilities.
Consult your legal advisor
Before making any changes to policies and screening procedures, it’s always a good idea to first consult your legal team. This way, you’ll be prepared for any legal concerns that could arise, and will have the guidance you need to stay in compliance with any state or federal regulations.
Need more support?
For legal concerns or other risk management, it helps to have an expert in your corner. Odell Studner can help. To learn more about our risk management services, contact us today!