Through Assembly Bill 1830 New Jersey Employees May Soon See Greater Protections Regarding the Use of Medical Marijuana
By: Jennifer Weitz, Esq., and Ty Hyderally, Esq.
Assembly bill number 1830 was introduced by The New Jersey State Legislature this past January. This bill could soon be providing additional protections to authorized medical cannabis patients from an adverse employment action which includes making it unlawful for an employer to take any negative employment action against an employee who is a qualified registered patient using medical cannabis based on the employee’s status as a cardholder, or from the employee’s positive drug test, unless an employer establishes that the “lawful use of medical cannabis has impaired the employee’s ability to perform the employee’s job responsibilities.”
The proposed act defines impairment while working to be a manifestation of “specific articulable symptoms” that decrease performance of job duties, while also defining “adverse employment action” as refusing to hire or employ an individual, barring or discharging an individual from employment, requiring an individual to retire from employment, or discriminating against an individual in compensation or in any terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
This act would maintain the exact definition but replace “individual,” with “qualified registered patient.” While N.J. Stat. § 24:6I-6.1 prohibits adverse employment action based solely on the employee’s status as a registry identification cardholder, this new proposed act further prohibits the same based on an employee’s positive drug test, which would limit the burden employees would have in explaining positive drug tests to their employers.
Accordingly, N.J. Stat. § 24:6I-6.1 prohibits adverse employment action based solely on the employee’s status as a registry identification cardholder, but the proposed act further prohibits the same based on an employee’s positive drug test. This in turn would limit the burden medical marijuana users have in explaining positive drug tests to their employers.
The proposed amendment solidifies protections already on the books in New Jersey common law and announced by New Jersey Supreme Court in Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., 241 N.J. 285 (2020) (holding that employers must reasonably accommodate individuals who are legal users of marijuana, just as they would have to reasonably accommodate an employee taking any prescription medication).
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