Oregon lawmakers propose bill to protect marijuana-using workers from being fired
- Oregon lawmakers have proposed a bill banning employers from firing workers for using marijuana while off the clock, WRIC reports. The proposal applies to both medicinal and recreational use.
- Senate Bill 301 bars employers from firing workers for using lawful substances and for making non-use of a substance a condition of employment, says WRIC. The bill doesn’t protect marijuana use that impairs workers, violates an avocation requirement or is prohibited under a union contract.
- Charlie Burr, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industry director, told WRIC that the state’s legalization of marijuana didn’t affect employment law and that employers still can fire workers for using it.
As more states legalize the use of marijuana beyond medical use, employers must decide whether they want to forbid the drug's use onsite and how they want a marijuana policy to read.
Employers must also decide how they’ll enforce marijuana use policies, including any disciplinary measures taken against violators while complying with state laws.
Impairment on the job could put marijuana users and others in the workplace at risk. Employers must make safety a priority through compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Administration rules and other employment laws.
Court rulings on the issue have generally come down on the side of employers. This could be a significant advantage for employers in states where marijuana has been legalized.