FAQs answered by Terri Dougherty
You can almost certainly not smoke pot at work. Many state laws prohibit marijuana use in public and employers can prohibit marijuana use in the workplace.
In addition, there could be a restriction on smoking in the workplace. This would apply to marijuana as well as to tobacco.
Simply bringing weed into the workplace could be a violation of company policy as well. Make sure you’re familiar with your company’s drug and alcohol policy before bringing any marijuana into work.
It’s very unlikely that you will be allowed to use marijuana at work, even if you use medical marijuana because of a disability.
State laws legalizing medical marijuana allow employers to ban marijuana use in the workplace. This applies to marijuana used for medical reasons, as well as pot that’s used recreationally.
In some states, your employer might need to allow you to use marijuana when you’re not at work. If you’re using it to treat a disability, talk to your employer about a possible accommodation for off-duty use.
Some workers cannot be allowed to use marijuana because of safety risks, however. Your employer will take your job duties into account when deciding whether or not off-duty use is acceptable. For example, drivers who are subject to Department of Transportation drug testing rules can’t use marijuana, even for medical purposes.
In states where medical marijuana is still illegal, you definitely cannot use it at work. If you use it outside of work, you could be disciplined or fired for a positive drug test.
For more information, look over your company’s drug and alcohol policy and talk to your company’s human resources director.
A drug test can show that a person has used marijuana. It does not show exactly when it was used or the effect it is having, so it cannot be used as proof of impairment.
When proving impairment due to marijuana use, it is better to look for visible signs, including:
- Difficulty in sustaining attention,
- Loss of coordination,
- Slowed reaction time,
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Inappropriate laughter,
- Disregard for safety.
There is no single list of labor law posters that applies to every company, but most large employers in the United States need to post these federal posters:
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act
- Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act
- Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law
- Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act
- Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law!
- Your Rights Under USERRA” (This poster can be displayed or the full text of the notice can be emailed or distributed to employees)
The other posters that you need will depend on state and local laws and the industry you’re in. If you’re a federal contractor, you have additional posting responsibilities. Details about which postings are needed can be found in this Posting Requirements report.
Employers can’t use online or electronic posters to satisfy posting requirements. In order to be compliant, posters must be posted in the workplace.
One federal agency that addresses this is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). On the website for the Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law posting, it says, “In most cases, electronic posting supplements physical posting but does not itself fulfill the employer's basic obligation to physically post the required information in its workplaces.”
Each posting is required by a different law or regulation, however, and a few laws do allow for electronic posting. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) notice and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) poster are two examples. The FMLA posting regulation is a bit ambiguous, however, as it states that it may be displayed electronically provided all other requirements are met.
While these laws do mention electronic posting, the vast majority of posting regulations require physical posters. If you have remote employees who work at home and never come into the office, and who are unlikely to post a set of posters in their den, then electronic posters are an option for making them aware of their rights under labor laws. If workers report to a building or work site, however, labor law posters must be displayed there.
Product written by Terri Dougherty
Employee Health & Wellness Training Advisor/LivingRight®