Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Law – Employer’s Rights and Responsibilities
How would an employer know if someone is impaired under marijuana?
You don’t! There is no standard or definition of impairment. Impairment is subjective unlike that of alcohol where you can gauge the level.
But the Arizona Legislature came to the rescue (Really!). Codified in ARS 23-493 (Drug Testing of Employees), this legislation gives the employer a “Good Faith” defense. An employer could determine the employee’s impairment based on the symptoms that may lessen or decrease employees’ performance.
An employer can look at:
- Physical Dexterity
- Irrational or unusual behavior
ARS 23-493 also allows subjectivity based on:
- Negligence or carelessness in operating machinery or equipment
- Involvement in an accident that results in serious injury or damage
- Any injury to the employee or other symptoms causing a reasonable suspicion of the use of drugs or alcohol.
Employers are protected from lawsuits if they act in good faith, do not test for a specific drug, can prove good faith belief that an employee used or possessed marijuana on the work premises and the good faith believe that the employee was impaired during work or on the premise.
What does an employer need?
- Drug testing policy under Arizona law in the employment handbook.
- Consistency in application, treatment and testing.
The good news is that an employer can terminate an employee who possesses and or uses marijuana on the work premise.