PRESS RELEASE FROM http://www.calchamber.com/PressReleases/Pages/CalChamberSoundsAlarmonEmployerImpactofProposition19.aspx

Legal Analysis Reveals Serious Workplace Issues If Measure Becomes Law

Thursday, August 12, 2010
Contact: Denise Davis 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, not only would legalize pot use in California but create a legal quagmire for employers by compromising workplace safety and establishing a new class of protected workers in the state, according to a legal analysis released today by the California Chamber of Commerce.

"This initiative would change the way employers are required to do business in our state," said Allan Zaremberg, President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. "Essentially any employer would be required to offer marijuana users extra protections above those provided to other employees. If Proposition 19 becomes law, our state's workers will face increased exposure to injuries and our employers will face increased exposure to liability. Proposition 19 is bad for employers and their employees." 

Proposition 19 seeks to legalize the cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and sale of marijuana for personal use in California. However, the measure is written in a way that blurs the line for employers regarding important workplace issues including whether or not employers must allow marijuana smoking at work and who will pay for marijuana-related accidents. 

CalChamber's employment law advisor Jennifer Shaw, who prepared the analysis, points out that the measure establishes a new, higher, but yet undefined standard of "actual impairment." According to Shaw, under this standard, an employer cannot take any action related to an employee's use of marijuana and their potential threat to workplace safety as is currently the case for alcohol. For example, if a forklift driver showed up reeking of marijuana smoke, an employer could not take disciplinary action until it could be proven that the employee's job performance was actually impaired' by the marijuana use (for example, after an accident occurred). Under Proposition 19, marijuana would be more protected than alcohol. 

"Imagine a workplace where employees show up to work high and there's nothing an employer can do about it," said Shaw. "It is pretty clear that Proposition 19 will lead to many unfortunate outcomes including compromised workplace safety, discrimination lawsuits filed by employees who use marijuana but got fired for poor performance, and increased costs of liability insurance," she said. 

Last month, CalChamber's products division – HR California – began looking into the employer implications should Proposition 19 become law. That initial review raised many questions and lead to the preparation of the full legal analysis by CalChamber's employment law advisor that was released today. 

A full copy of the legal analysis is available at www.calchamber.com

The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California.  Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state.  Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law through HRCalifornia.com.  CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California's economy and create jobs.  Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com.
                                                                                      
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5 Comments

  1. K2 says:

    I think this is ridiculous. Prop 19 is going to pass so people are going to show up at work high? If someone is being reckless at work, that alone is grounds for firing. Get real people.

  2. K2 says:

    I think this is ridiculous. Prop 19 is going to pass so people are going to show up at work high? If someone is being reckless at work, that alone is grounds for firing. Get real people.

  3. K2 Incense says:

    Ya I think I am going to have to agree.

  4. K2 Incense says:

    Ya I think I am going to have to agree.

  5. K2 incense says:

    Shame it didn't pass. I was so sure it would. I guess people can simmer down now, eh?

 
 
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