With legalization slowly unfolding from the government, some employers are getting concerned about their employees using cannabis. Concrete Contractor Dean Brown, who is a project manager with Mudrack Concrete Ltd, says that he is worried about legalization in Canada with regard to cannabis use, and he thinks that there is increased risk of coming across increased pot users at his work.
He is worried that the move for legalization will result in more impaired workers on the job. “We have enough dealing with present drugs and alcohol. We don’t need marijuana too,” said Brown on the matter.
Currently, employees in Canada receive random drug tests in a variety of occupational settings. Those in the construction industry running heavy machinery for example, they might be randomly tested in order to see if they are intoxicated on the job. These tests check for, and no doubt have found on many occasions, indicators of alcohol, cannabis use, and more. Despite alcohol being legal though, there have been many employees who have lost their job because they were found to be drinking on the job or worse. Some would argue that just because some people might exercise their choice to make the self-destructive decision to go to work high, shouldn’t then translate to reasoning or justification to prevent people from obtaining medical cannabis who need it.
Brown says that even when his workers are on prescription drugs he asserts that they are to let their foreman know and if necessary they will be placed on other duties throughout the duration that they are on the prescription medication. Brown maintains that there is considerable risk for a contractor who has a worker on site that is impaired. And this is why those who are found to be impaired on the job, thanks to drug testing, have been let go from their responsibilities.
In places like Colorado where legalization is already well underway, last year their high court decided to uphold the rights of employers to fire workers for medical pot use; even if it was off-the-job use. Their reasoning however was that state law must comply with federal law in order to protect the employee from discipline over a “lawful” activity that they engaged in during their off-time. Courts in Washington, Montana, and California, have also ruled against medical cannabis patients in similar cases.