Oregon regulators are considering a law which would protect workers for legal off-duty cannabis use. The law would represent a progressive act in the nation, where more and more states offer legal marijuana programs while employers can still punish them for legal, sometimes doctor-recommended activity.
Oregon’s Legislative Concept 2152 would make it illegal for a business to terminate an employee if that employee tests positive for cannabis consumed outside of work. The bill would also offer similar protections to people applying for jobs, as reported by the Statesman Journal.
The bill is a reworking of a measure which failed in the State Senate last year that would have protected workers rights for medical marijuana patients who test positive for marijuana.
If passed, Concept 2152 would offer a welcome change for many cannabis advocates and users, but there would still be some restrictions on employees.
For example, workers might not be protected if their labor agreements or collective bargaining agreements stipulate prohibited off-duty marijuana use. In addition, some employers may still have the right to fire their employees for using cannabis if there is a “bona fide occupational qualification” in their job.
An employer may also be exempt from the bill if they have a contract with the federal government which would prohibit employees’ use of a federally controlled substance such as cannabis.
Before a vote, the proposed bill will first go before the Senate Interim Committee on Judiciary. “We’ll definitely have some discussions” on the proposal, said committee chair Sen. Floyd Prozanski.Photo via Flickr user RonWyden