Illinois Employers Can Prepare to Take Cannabis-Based Disciplinary Actions

Cannabis Business Executive

Kathleen A. Barrett, Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Chicago office, authored an article in Cannabis Business Executive, titled “Illinois Employers Can Prepare to Take Cannabis-Based Disciplinary Actions.”

Following is an excerpt:

It is a snowy January day in Chicago, recreational marijuana is now legal, and one of your employee’s, Mary Jane, is sleeping at her desk, with a strong scent of marijuana emitting from her sweater. How can an Illinois employer prepare to address Mary Jane’s conduct this January?

The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “Cannabis Act”) dedicates an entire section, Section 10-50, to things that employers can do under the Cannabis Act to protect itself and address an employee’s at work impairment, including:

  • An employer may still have “reasonable zero tolerance or drug free workplace policies, or employment policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage, or use of cannabis on the workplace or while on call provided that the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.”
  • An employer can still discipline or terminate an employee for violating an employer’s workplace drug policy or employment policies.
  • An employer can discipline an employee based on a good faith belief that an employee is under the influence or impaired. The Cannabis Act identifies a number of symptoms an employer can consider to support its good faith belief of impairment. However, the employer must afford the employee a reasonable opportunity to contest the basis of the determination.