Safety doesn’t go up in smoke

Safety doesn’t go up in smoke in latest cannabis legal decision

Medical Cannabis and safety sensitive positions continue to be in the spot light for duty to accommodate decisions coming out of our legal systems. A recent decision reinforces that impairment determination is still an unknown and as such the use of medical cannabis can be a reason to decline employment in safety sensitive positions. Take a look at the interpretation of this case out of Newfoundland:
[1] International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1620 v. Lower Churchill Transmission Construction Employers’ Association Inc., 2019 N.L.S.C. 48, issued February 22, 2019

What can employers do?

  1. It is important to have a clear understanding of the requirements of your job. Define the essential duties and ensure that you have a physical, cognitive and sensory job demands analysis of the role.
  2. Define what is safety sensitive work.
  3. Have an accommodation policy clearly written with the requirement for the employee to request accommodation as required.
  4. Create a Post Offer Employment Testing/Screening process to compare abilities to job demands.
  5. If you are aware that an employee is utilizing medical cannabis, have a health assessment process to clarify the usage and determine impact on safety sensitive role.

What should the employee do?

  1. Check with your medical provider to see if there are alternatives to the use of medical cannabis for symptom management.
  2. Follow your employer’s policies on substance use and disclosure.
  3. Make your employer aware of any medical or non medical use of cannabis if you are working in a safety sensitive position.

How can Gowan Help?

  1. Provision of Physical, cognitive and sensory demands analysis of all jobs
  2. Development of Post offer employment screening/testing protocols
  3. Preparation of clear policies and procedures for accommodation, substance use and fitness to work programs

Reference:

https://www.torkinmanes.com/our-resources/publications-presentations/publication/medical-cannabis-and-safety-sensitive-work

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1620 v. Lower Churchill Transmission Construction Employers’ Association Inc., 2019 N.L.S.C. 48, issued February 22, 2019

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