Employers’ growing cannabis concerns

Daniel Saeedi, Rachel L. Schaller

31 January 2020

In 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis and the first to do so through the passage of a bill in the state Legislature.

The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act makes it legal to possess and use up to a certain amount of cannabis and also provides several rules for employers. While one section allows for zero tolerance policies to remain in effect, another section amends the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, making it illegal to discipline or take other adverse workplace actions against employees who use legal cannabis outside of work.

It also provides a “due process” requirement; employers must provide an employee a reasonable opportunity to explain symptoms or a positive drug test before the employee is disciplined or terminated. The act also provides safe harbors for employers acting in good faith to discipline or terminate employees for cannabis use or possession in the workplace, or being “impaired” by cannabis at work.

Employers in states with legal cannabis should generally follow these four steps: (1) document objective, observable symptoms suggesting the employee is impaired in the workplace, including how such symptoms lessen the ability of an employee to perform job duties; (2) send the employee for a drug test; (3) if the employee tests positive for cannabis, allow the employee a reasonable opportunity to explain their side; (4) issue discipline and make termination decisions consistently and in accordance with lawful policies.

IMPACT: Special consideration must be given to the laws and regulations of each state so as to provide employers with best practices regarding cannabis-related discipline in the workforce.

Written by Daniel Saeedi, Rachel L. Schaller


blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software
workforce news

Relevant Videos

This is

Hi, My name is Meg and this is my introduction to

Case Study: COVIDCheck Colorado

Find out how powered vaccine sites with demand driven scheduling and attendance.

Related Articles

workforce blog


The 10-minute guide to 2021 labor law compliance

Labor laws are a potentially lethal minefield for companies, particularly in today’s turbulent labor ma...

compliance, HR, HR technology, human resources, labor law compliance

workforce blog

Commentary & Opinion

Workplace things COVID has not changed: You can still fire dishonest employees

Suppose an employee leaves work claiming COVID-like symptoms. He then calls off work for the next two w...

COVID-19, FFCRA, human resources, termination

workforce blog


Q&A: Excelling in defense of employers sued for wage and hour violations

Wage and hour violations among the familiar labor law challenges facing Annette A. Idalski as she ‘stri...

compliance, Department of Labor, wage and hour

Read the magazine

workforce magazine