Over the last month or so, we’ve looked at 4 of the most major changes to the Workers’ Compensation system that have come in with 2017.From rates to ex-mods to officer exclusions, we have covered some serious ground.All of those shifts in the business environment will have a sizable impact, but we saved the biggest game-changer for last:
Last November, proposition 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana in California.
Now, we’re giving this the title of biggest change, not so much because it will have an enormous impact on your day-to-day workplace, but because of the domino-effect that it is sure to have.We are quickly moving into uncharted territory, and this will come with plenty of unforeseen consequences, both good and bad.
So, let’s just get right down to it:What do you need to know?
First and foremost, the most important take-away that you can get from this week’s blog is that employers absolutely have to keep an ear to the ground on this issue.Over the next few years, there will be a constant stream of rules and regulations coming out on this topic.We cannot overstate the importance of staying as up to date as possible.
For now, here’s what we know:
Employer’s still have the right to a drug-free workplace in California.This means that companies can still make their hiring (and firing) decisions based on the results of a drug test.In other words, the state will not penalize individuals for the legal use of marijuana, but some employers will… and that is well within their legal rights.
On the other hand, drug testing has become slightly more difficult in certain situations.OSHA has prohibited employers from conducting automatic post-accident drug testing moving forward.Instead, employers now carry the burden of proof to determine if an illegal substance contributed to an accident.Only after meeting this requirement are they allowed to conduct a drug test.
The bottom line is that it is more important than ever to make sure that your drug policies are clear and enforceable.If you’re even a little unsure about how to craft the best policy for your business, make sure you get the help of an HR expert who can guide you.Once that’s in place, it’s just as important that it is communicated and enforced early and often to avoid any potential misunderstandings and problems.
This will get more complicated and confusing before it gets simple and easy, so make sure to get as much information on the topic as possible in the coming months.