Labor and Employment Attorney Daniel Herrington spoke recently to members of the South Arkansas Human Resources Association about the impact the medical marijuana amendment could have on employers. He was part of the group's meeting that takes place each month in El Dorado.
Because many employers and human resources associations are concerned about the new law, Dan focused on some key points about the law’s impact on employer’s efforts to ensure a safe, drug-free workplace:
1. The amendment does not specifically prohibit an employer from taking action based on a positive drug test for marijuana.
2. Implementing legislation (HB 1460), if passed, gives employers the ability to continue or adopt uniform drug-free workplace policies and follow those policies whether or not the employee has a state-issued card.
3. Federal contractors need to consider that marijuana use is still illegal under federal law and they likely have agreed to follow federal law in their contracts.
4. While the proposed statute clarifies some questions, ultimately some of these issues will get sorted out in court, so employers should consult counsel before disciplining or terminating an employee for testing positive for THC if that employee presents a medical marijuana card.
Daniel L. Herrington is a partner in the Labor and Employment Relations Practice Group focused on representing employers in all areas of labor and employment law, including ADA, FMLA, Wage and Hour, Title VII, OSHA and NLRA. He proactively works with his management clients to help ensure their employment decisions can withstand legal scrutiny. Dan has successfully defended those decisions before state and federal agencies and courts, including the EEOC, OSHA, NLRB, DOL, Arkansas Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for Eighth Circuit. He also has extensive experience in litigating covenant not to compete and trade secret cases.