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Protecting Cannabis Users Against Discrimination in the Workplace:

California Anti-Discrimination Laws Extended to Protect Cannabis Users in 2024


California is well-known for its progressive stance on cannabis legalization and regulation, but how does this play a role in the state's employment laws? There’s a new and very important employment law that works to protect California cannabis users and sets a precedent when it comes to workplace inclusivity.


What is Assembly Bill 2188?


Assembly Bill (AB) 2188 is one of the most significant developments thus far in anti-discrimination laws to protect cannabis users. The bill expands the protections offered by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to cover employees and job applicants of employers with at least five employees who use cannabis while off the clock and away from the workplace.


Starting on January 1, 2024, employers with five or more employees must comply with AB 2188 and avoid discrimination based on off-duty cannabis use. This means that employers cannot use an individual's cannabis use to make hiring or firing decisions. By protecting employees' rights to use cannabis legally while off the job, California has taken a major step forward in ensuring workplace fairness and inclusivity.


Does this affect workplace cannabis screenings?


AB 2188 also sets new limits on cannabis drug testing. California employers can no longer test for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in drug screenings. Instead, they can only test for THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that indicates present impairment.


This change recognizes that cannabis can remain in an individual's system for weeks after use, even if they are no longer under the influence. By focusing on present impairment, this ensures that cannabis users are not unfairly penalized for legal off-duty use.


Are there any employees who are exempt from AB 2188?


AB 2188 does not provide blanket protection for all employees. Certain industries or positions that require a federal background check or security clearance, such as the building or construction trades, may be exempt from this law. Employers should consult with legal counsel to determine if their industry is exempt.


All in all, AB 2188 is a groundbreaking development in protecting the rights of cannabis users in California. Remember that AB 2188 is not effective until January of next year, so keep this in mind and be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date on new California labor laws that may affect you.


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The information provided in this blog post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All content and information in this blog post are for general informational purposes only. Reading this blog post does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship is only created by written agreement.



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