Cornerstone Training Institute, Rochester-based leading environmental and workforce training center, has just announced its new Marijuana in the Workplace course, designed with employers in mind. The recent legalization of marijuana at the state level has introduced new complexities in the workplace just as organizations are getting back on their feet from Covid. Not only will HR Departments need to field work-from-home-related questions and healthcare policy changes but now the question of when, how much and where employees can engage in marijuana in and outside of work.
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March 31, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the “Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act” into law. This action immediately decriminalizes many instances of adult possession and use of cannabis products, including marijuana, statewide. New York Labor Law has long protected employees’ off-duty conduct, including lawful use of consumable products. For example, employers usually cannot prohibit employees from smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol outside of work. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act amends the existing protections to address employee marijuana use under section 201-d of the New York Labor Law.
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While these laws may seem clear, there is still the unknown impact that marijuana use outside of the workplace could have on employee behavior hours later. “Heavy equipment operators, drivers and those in the service industry are at risk of lawsuits if they do not have proper protocols in place. With each person’s body handling marijuana differently, the effects are not as cookie-cutter as smoking a cigarette before showing up for work, and we want to make sure employees, customers and organizations are protected,” said Randy Holden, CTI’s VP of Operations.
“Our goal is to help HR departments feel supported, know their legal rights and develop proper protocols to effectively navigate the new laws in the workforce. Without protocols in place, organizations are going to create liability concerns and performance issues as well as put themselves at risk for disgruntled employee lawsuits,” voiced Cornerstone CEO Darren Yehl, who is also actively involved in the construction community.
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