VT EMPLOYMENT LAW AND MARIJUANA
- July 18, 2018
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Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan released the Guide to Vermont’s Laws on Marijuana in the Workplace (PDF). The document is a general overview of both recreational and medical marijuana laws, as well as Vermont’s employment legislation, that summarizes employers and employees workplace protections and restrictions.
Employers can ban or otherwise regulate marijuana use in the workplace. More than that, they can establish a zero-tolerance policy towards employees’ use of the drug both during and after work hours. Employees who violate this policy, could not use Act 86 as a basis for bringing legal charges against employers.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA EMPLOYEES
BUT, workers carrying a medical marijuana card and qualified as an individual with a disability are protected under Vermont’s Fair Employment Practices Act. This means that businesses cannot discriminate against workers using cannabis outside of work to treat the disability. But even with a medical card, employees still can’t use cannabis at work.
DRUG TESTS ON THE JOB
Employers can drug-test employees IN LIMITED CIRCUMSTANCES ONLY. Drug-test might be a part of a hiring process. In these circumstances, employers are required to provide job applicants with a written notice about the drug test and a list of drugs to be tested. The test must be sent to a laboratory approved by the Vermont Department of Health.
Employers can request a drug test if they have probable cause to believe that a worker is impaired in the workplace. Random drug testing of employees is NOT PERMITTED. Positive test results can’t get an employee fired if they agree to participate in the employer-offered rehabilitation program.
A NOTE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
It is important to note that even though adults in Vermont can legally use cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, federal law still prohibits possession, consumption, and sale of marijuana. Federal contractors or federal grant recipients might lose their jobs if they use marijuana.