Cannabis is now legal for recreational and medical use in many states. Doctors prescribe it to patients for various issues e.g. chronic pain and you can buy a certain amount of it from cannabis stores if you are over 21. However, the cannabis legalization does not mean that your employer cannot fire you for having cannabis in your system. Keep in mind that it is still illegal at the federal level, so the state cannabis laws may become meaningless when it comes to the relationship between you and your employer. Depending on certain factors, you can still get fired from your job for using cannabis edibles in Los Angeles.
What Does the Law Say?
According to Los Angeles lawyer specializing in the field of employment, it depends on the situation. Los Angeles law clearly states that
it should not be interpreted to:
• Affect the employers’ ability to have policies forbidding the cannabis use by employees and potential employees;
• Require an employer to accommodate or permit the possession, use, display, consumption, transfer, growth or sale of cannabis in the workplace;
• Restrict the obligations and rights of private and public employers to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace; or
• Prevent employers from obeying the federal or state law.
Basically, this means that legalization of cannabis does not allow employees to suddenly start consuming cannabis edibles at work – just as they are not entitled to consume alcohol at work.
What About the ADA?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to offer reasonable accommodations to disabled employees. However, this federal law does not require employers to accommodate illegal drug use. Even though cannabis is legal in Los Angeles, it is still illegal under the federal law. Because of this, under the ADA, employees who use medical cannabis for a disability are not entitled to accommodation.
Are Cannabis Users Protected from Being Fired?
Different states offer protections to cannabis users in this regard. These include New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Arkansas, Arizona, etc. However, even in the states that offer protection, becoming familiar with the fine print is very important. For instance, Arkansas law protects employees but only when they use cannabis outside of work hours. So, the answer to whether or not a cannabis user is protected from being fired is that it depends on the state as well as the job being performed. In California, there are no state laws against firing
someone for using cannabis edibles. So, you can expect the same in Los Angeles.
The Bottom Line
Since the legalization of cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes is relatively new, the laws on the firing of employees for cannabis use are still emerging. As an employee, you should keep in mind that your employer has the right to enforce a drug-free workplace.
However, there are situations where the employer conduct may be discriminatory or illegal. That’s why it is important to consult with a seasoned Los Angeles lawyer if you have faced any kind of adverse employment action on the basis of your cannabis use.