Why Amazon’s updated marijuana drug testing policy could have ‘ripple effect’

As guidelines shielding adult use of both of those healthcare and recreational cannabis use spread, the 2nd-biggest employer in the U.S. is switching its tune on drug testing.

In a June blog post, Amazon claimed it “will no extended include cannabis in our extensive drug screening system” for jobs that are not controlled by the U.S. Office of Transportation. In its place, the enterprise claimed it would address cannabis use the exact as alcohol use.

The announcement was surprising regardless of Amazon’s position as a craze-setter from a business functions viewpoint, Michael Freimann, lover at Greenspoon Marder, advised HR Dive. But the information could have a “ripple influence” on how other companies technique cannabis testing going forward, he extra, due to the truth that much more and much more jurisdictions have implemented cannabis use legislation.

At the moment, 18 states as properly as Washington, D.C., have adopted guidelines that legalize some variety of adult recreational use, according to the Nationwide Meeting of State Legislatures. States extra to the checklist in 2021 include Connecticut, New Mexico, New York and Virginia.

Within some of these statutes, states have extra provisions that include various sorts of protections for position applicants’ use of cannabis. In 2019, Nevada turned the initial state to prohibit companies from refusing to use position candidates — with exceptions for some roles — on the basis of a constructive cannabis test.

This year, two states adopted up with very similar guidelines. In February, New Jersey enacted a legislation stating that companies might not refuse to use and might not acquire adverse employment actions from staff because of cannabis use or only because of the existence of cannabinoid metabolites in the employee’s bodily fluid that results from perform permitted beneath state legislation. In April, neighboring state New York adopted legislation prohibiting employment discrimination from staff centered on cannabis use prior to the starting of or just after the conlusion of their operate hrs, off the employer’s premises and without having the use of the employer’s gear or property.

Amazon is not by itself in adopting insurance policies that acquire new guidelines into account. Subsequent passage of Virginia’s recreational use legislation this year, the town federal government of Norfolk, Virginia, dropped drug testing needs for quite a few position types, help save for specified “security delicate” positions, nearby information outlet WAVY-Tv described.

The technique might spread as companies request uniformity in their drug-testing insurance policies amid a fractured legal landscape, according to Freimann.

“We’re beginning to see a craze of states taking these up coming ways,” he extra. “Amazon’s announcement is a way to get forward of the curve.”

But that does not signify quite a few companies will drop drug testing needs entirely, even for cannabis like Amazon, companies will very likely require to preserve in spot needs for positions controlled by DOT, Freimann claimed. And quite a few states that have legalized recreational use even now permit companies to generate insurance policies prohibiting that use, no matter if on- or off-obligation. Many others spell out the capacity of companies to generate insurance policies that support in sustaining safe and sound workplaces.

“Safety will even now be paramount,” Freimann claimed, introducing that companies across the board might teach administrators to discover no matter if an worker is beneath the influence of cannabis, very similar to alcohol and other prescription drugs. Even in workplaces that moved remote all through the pandemic, companies continued drug testing regimens, employment legislation specialists previously advised HR Dive.

Questioned how an employer could possibly put into practice a modify in coverage very similar to Amazon, Freimann claimed HR groups might require to initial evaluation their worker handbooks and insurance policies to decide existing compliance steps and schooling protocols. From there, companies can discover which jobs they will carry on testing protocols for, and which kinds they will not.

Off-obligation perform is very likely to be a vital consideration “If an individual did occur to operate and use cannabis recreationally whilst they were off-obligation, how are we dealing with that person?” Freimann claimed.

On top of that, companies require to be certain that the definition of “fair suspicion” within just their insurance policies “is properly-outlined and understood” within just the group, together with all through schooling, he pointed out. If a manager decides an worker is impaired by cannabis use, “they have to articulate why they have fair suspicion to do that,” Freimann discussed.

Documentation is also essential. “Make guaranteed you are next up verbal conversations or email messages with memos you can set in the file [and] doing factors as contemporaneously as doable,” Freimann claimed.