Nathaniel M. Glasser, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in Law360, in “The Year in Cannabis Case Law: Major Pot Rulings from 2019,” by Sam Reisman. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

The maturation of the cannabis industry has led to a predictable uptick in litigation as business deals have fallen apart, employees have asserted their rights, and diverging federal and state policies on marijuana have come into conflict.

But the body of cannabis case law is still very much in its infancy, attorneys say. A paucity of precedent has left judges, particularly on the federal bench, with broad leeway to decide how to rule — or whether to weigh in at all — in disputes involving businesses that remain federally illegal. …

Here, Law360 looks back at some of the most significant cannabis law developments of 2019. …

A Win for Employee Rights

In a landmark decision, the Tenth Circuit affirmed in September that the Fair Labor Standards Act applies to workers in the marijuana industry.

In doing so, the panel upheld a trial court’s decision that workers at Colorado cannabis security company Helix TCS Inc. could pursue a wage-and-hour collective action even though pot is illegal under federal law.

According to Nathaniel Glasser, a labor and employment member at Epstein Becker Green, the ruling has implications for the cannabis industry beyond just the FLSA — it indicates that marijuana businesses are required to develop and implement anti-harassment and nondiscrimination policies, maintain time records, pay overtime and accurately classify employees, he said.

“Although the product that is being sold might be viewed as illegal under federal laws, those employment-related laws don’t govern the product or service, but the relationship between the employer and employee,” Glasser said.

Helix has sought a review of the decision, and its request is pending.

The case is Kenney v. Helix TCS, case number 18-1105, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.


Jump to Page

Privacy Preference Center

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.