Cannabis – the once illegal, banned, and even immoral according to some – is now legal and becoming increasing popular for both medical and recreational use. However, the problem with the legalization of cannabis is that many businesses are still using drug-free workplaces and some of them are getting sued for wrongful termination for not accommodating their employees the use of legal cannabis.
What is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination refers to when an employer fires an employee for unlawful reason. Under state and federal employment laws, employees cannot be fired for illegal reasons. If it happens, the employee can hire a wrongful termination attorney to file a lawsuit against the company. Wrongful termination lawsuits can have severe consequences for employers, potentially resulting in negative publicity, financial loss, and much more. That’s why it is extremely important for employers to take steps to protect themselves.
Tips to Avoid Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in the Cannabis Industry
Following are some tips employers should follow:
Have Policies and Procedures in Place
As an employer, you should have concise and clear policies in place within your employee handbook with regards to cannabis use in the workplace. It is also recommended that you review them often to make sure that they are up to date and in compliance with the state and federal laws.
Management Level Training
The managers and supervisors of the company should receive proper training on fair employment practices, state laws, as well as federal laws as they are the first to face employee relations, including behavioral and performance issues. You and your management staff should know and clearly understand the guidelines that are set, particularly with regards to the consumption of cannabis edibles at workplace.
Upon employees’ hiring, they should be required to complete orientation which should include detailed review with the manager or supervisor on the employee handbook and policies of the company. Since the employees will be fully informed through open communication on policies, behavior, and job performance, there will be less of a case of wrongful termination lawsuit.
Organize the Paperwork
Thorough documentation of employee violations could help you avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit. It is recommended that you keep a record of any disciplinary action against an employee. Review the record carefully to make sure that the reasons for terminating the employee are clear and supported. If you find any conflicting information, investigate it before taking any action.
Wrongful termination lawsuits due to the legalization of cannabis are catching a lot of employers off guard mainly because some of the laws about the use of recreational and medical use of cannabis edibles are confusing. Cannabis may be legal in many states, but it is still forbidden at the federal level. To avoid wrongful termination lawsuits, it is recommended that you work with a wrongful termination attorney to create simple and straightforward company policies, train all your managers, as well as educate your employees to follow them.