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Weed and Work: Employer-Friendly Rights Under Public Act 101-0593

By Gardi, Haught, Fischer & Bhosale LTD
January 10, 2024
weed and work

Weed and Work: Employer-Friendly Rights Under Public Act 101-0593

By Tom Haught

 When Governor Pritzker signed HB 1438 into law and legalized marijuana, it created a whole new world. At least here in Illinois. Those 21 and older can now legally purchase and possess marijuana from a licensed dispensary. But what does that mean for employers? The answer to that question had been a bit murky, but right before we rang in the new year, Governor Pritzker clarified employer rights on this issue by signing an amendment to the new marijuana laws known as  Public Act 101-0593.

This amendment is employer-friendly and allows an employer to continue, pursuant to their reasonable workplace drug policies, to test applicants and current employees for drugs. If the test comes back positive, an employer can withdraw an applicant’s offer and discipline or fire a current employee.

Of course, employees showing signs of impairment can also be disciplined. If an employer maintains a drug free workplace policy and has a good faith belief that an employee is impaired at work, that employee can be disciplined or terminated for being under the influence in the workplace.

When it comes to use of marijuana for medical purposes, there are laws that allow patients diagnosed with certain medical conditions to possess and use medical marijuana. For these individuals, the use of medical marijuana may be a reasonable accommodation for an employee when the use is outside of working hours and does not adversely affect safety or job performance.

The bottom line is that employer rules regarding the use of marijuana will likely mirror those involving alcohol. While most employers would not likely tolerate an employee having cocktails at lunch, they will not tolerate an employee getting high at lunch either. Conversely, if you enjoy a cocktail or use marijuana on a Saturday afternoon (if you are not at work or on call for work), your employer will likely have no objection.

If you are an employer questioning your rights as a result of the new legalization of marijuana in Illinois, know that Public Act 101-0593 is on your side, as is the legal team at Gardi, Haught, Fischer & Bhosale LTD 

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