17 C
New York
Monday, September 25, 2023

On the Horizon: Broad Employment Protections for Marijuana Customers within the District of Columbia

Final summer time, the Washington D.C. Council unanimously handed a invoice that prohibits employers from refusing to rent, terminating, suspending, failing to advertise, demote, or in any other case penalizing any worker who makes use of marijuana, even when they fail a drug take a look at. In October 2022, the invoice, known as the D.C. Marijuana Protections Modification Act of 2022, was signed by Mayor Bowser. The regulation goes into impact on or after July 13, 2023.[1] 

Beneath the Act, employers are usually prohibited from refusing to rent, firing, or taking different opposed actions in opposition to staff for leisure marijuana use, participation in a medical marijuana program, or for failing a marijuana drug take a look at. Nonetheless, employers will be capable to take motion in opposition to staff for marijuana use if “the worker manifests particular articulable signs whereas working, or through the worker’s hours of labor, that considerably lower or reduce the worker’s efficiency of the duties or duties of the worker’s job place,” or if such “particular articulable signs intervene with an employer’s obligation to offer a secure and wholesome office as required by District or federal occupational security and well being regulation.”

The Act additionally amends the District of Columbia Human Rights Act to require employers to deal with a qualifying affected person’s use of medical marijuana for a incapacity in the identical method as it could deal with the authorized use of different managed substances prescribed by or taken below the supervision of a licensed well being care skilled (topic to some exceptions). 


The regulation identifies a number of exceptions, together with: (1) exceptions for workers in “safety-sensitive” positions; (2) if an employer is required by federal statute, laws, contract, or funding settlement to ban marijuana use; or (3) if the worker used or possessed marijuana whereas performing work for the employer or through the worker’s work hours.

A “safety-sensitive” place is an employment place designated by the employer wherein it’s moderately foreseeable that the worker would seemingly trigger precise, speedy, and critical bodily damage or lack of life to self or others in the event that they carried out their work duties whereas below the affect of medicine or alcohol. The Act provides examples of positions that qualify as safety-sensitive, together with positions requiring (1) common or frequent operation of a motorcar or heavy or harmful gear or equipment, (2) common or frequent work on an energetic building web site or occupational security coaching, (3) common or frequent work on or close to energy or fuel utility traces or dealing with hazardous supplies (as outlined by District regulation), (4) the supervision of, or provision of routine look after, people who’re unable to look after themselves and who reside in an institutional or custodial setting, or (5) the administration of medicines, the efficiency or supervision of surgical procedures, or the availability of different medical remedy requiring skilled credentials.

Whereas the regulation will apply to most staff, staff of the federal authorities and the DC court docket system are excluded from the scope of the Act. Nonetheless, the Act will provide protections for different authorities staff inside the District.

Worker Complaints:

Beneath the Act, aggrieved staff could have varied cures: (1) submitting a grievance with the Workplace of Human Rights; (2) bringing a non-public reason for motion (leisure marijuana customers should first exhaust their administrative cures with an OHR grievance); and/or (3) submitting a grievance with the Lawyer Basic.

An employer who’s discovered to have violated the Act may face civil penalties, together with compensatory damages, misplaced wages, different equitable aid, and legal professional’s charges and prices. Civil penalties embrace the next: for employers that make use of 1 to 30 staff, a tremendous of as much as $1,000 per violation; for employers that make use of 31 to 99 staff, a tremendous of as much as $2,500 per violation; and for employers that make use of 100 or extra staff, a tremendous of as much as $5,000 per violation. The penalty shall be doubled for employers who violate the Act greater than as soon as within the yr.

Employer Tasks Trying Forward:

Inside 60 days of the regulation changing into efficient, employers shall be required to inform employees of their rights, together with if the employer has designated a employee’s function as safety-sensitive, and the employer’s protocols for drug and alcohol testing. This discover have to be offered to all new hires upon employment and to staff yearly. Moreover, employers ought to overview their drug and alcohol insurance policies to make sure they adjust to the Act.


[1] The Act won’t go into impact till its fiscal impact is included in an accepted price range or July 13, 2023, whichever is later.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles