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California Bill Protects Workers Off-Duty Marijuana Use

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Sonora, CA– California lawmakers have enacted a new bill, AB 2188, effective January 1st, aimed at preventing employers from penalizing workers who fail drug tests for marijuana use. The legislation is an amendment to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. California becomes the seventh state with this type of legislation joining Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Montana, and Rhode Island.

Under the new bill, companies are prohibited from punishing employees solely for testing positive for marijuana use, especially when the tests don’t determine current impairment. However, exceptions exist for construction workers and businesses mandated by federal contracts to conduct drug tests. AB 2188 does not undermine employers’ authority to restrict marijuana use during working hours. The bill explicitly states that employees are not allowed to possess, be impaired by, or use cannabis while on the clock.

The bill was opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce because it would “create a protected status for marijuana use” in state law.