Nathaniel M. Glasser, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in SHRM, in “Violence, Drugs, Cyberattacks Worry HR in 2019,” by Roy Maurer.

Following is an excerpt:

Workplace violence, marijuana use, data security, leave laws and workforce planning are among the most difficult challenges for employers this year, according to HR professionals.

Experts weigh in with tips and strategies on how to respond to and prepare for these challenges. …

Marijuana Dilemma

Conflicting federal and state marijuana laws and efforts to maintain a drug-free workplace are adding to HR’s challenges in 2019.

“Nearly two-thirds of the states, plus Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana,” said Nathaniel Glasser, an attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of Epstein Becker Green. “Michigan just became the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced his intention in 2019 to prioritize the legalization of recreational marijuana.”

Yet the drug is still illegal under federal law; however, courts have concluded that the federal Drug Free Workplace Act does not pre-empt state legalization laws.

“Employers should be aware that these laws are far from uniform, and the courts have taken different views of the enforceability of zero-tolerance policies,” Glasser said. “In the coming year, employers should carefully evaluate their current workplace drug policies in light of changing state laws and shifting social perceptions that may influence the applicant pool. While drug-testing policies should make clear that on-the-job consumption or being under the influence of marijuana remains against company policy, employers should take a considered approach as to whether and how testing for marijuana will occur.”


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