Kristin Klein Wheaton — a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Employment and Labor Practice Group — commented on the legalization of medical marijuana in New York and the practical implications of its implementation in the workplace for Buffalo Law Journal. “Employees might be under the misconception that they can smoke it at work and be under the influence at any time, and that’s not the case,” she said. “You can’t come to work high, just like you can’t come to work drunk.”
As more states legalize medical marijuana, employers find themselves balancing accommodations for employees as per the Americans with Disabilities Act with the requirement to provide drug-free workplaces under the Drug-Free Workplace Act. Kristin emphasized the need for employers to exhibit delicacy in the event that an employee shows signs of being under the influence of marijuana at work. “Employers can’t say, ‘What condition do you have that requires you to use marijuana?’” she said.
Though workplace provisions regarding medical marijuana must include reasonable job accommodations, Kristin believes that every case is unique and requires scrutiny. “As labor lawyers, we can’t tell clients if this then that,” she said. “It requires analysis every time.”