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Employment Law Protection And Marijuana

National attitudes regarding marijuana use have swung dramatically in recent years. New Jersey law is catching up to those attitudes. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA) was signed by the governor in early 2021. The Act legalizes the recreational use of marijuana for people 21 years old and older. In addition to changing the state’s criminal treatment of marijuana, it also specifically protects employees from employers whose views on marijuana use are stuck in the past.

At Costello & Mains, our employment law attorneys have been fighting for the rights of employees for decades. Workers from all over New Jersey can turn to us for experienced, aggressive advocacy. We do not work for employers. We only represent employees whose employers break state or federal employment laws concerning discrimination (such as marijuana discrimination), wrongful termination, wages and other employee rights.

How Are You Protected?

The new law changes the requirements for employers who drug test employees and job applicants. It also bans employers from taking action against employees for recreational marijuana use or for testing positive for cannabinoids in their system. The actions that employers are not allowed to take include firing people, refusing to hire people, or discriminating against them in pay, employment terms, conditions or privileges.

Drug Testing For Marijuana In New Jersey

Employers are still allowed to drug test employees under certain circumstances. That testing must use methods that are scientifically valid. It also must include a physical evaluation of the employee by a certified expert to determine that the worker is actually under the influence of marijuana.

What Isn’t Protected?

Employers are still entitled to control much of what goes on in their places of business. The right to use marijuana on your own time is not the same as the right to smoke it whenever and wherever you choose. Many employers will maintain policies that forbid the use of marijuana on their premises. The rights and restrictions will now be similar to the rules most employers keep about alcohol. You can use it on your own time, but if you show up to work under the influence, or if you use it while working, employers are allowed take action against you.

There is also an exception for New Jersey employers who have federal contracts. Employers can discriminate against workers based on marijuana use if they have a federal contract that requires them to do so.

What If Your Rights Are Violated?

Pierce action claims are a type of legal action used to protect employees from retaliation, including wrongful termination. These claims arise when a worker is terminated in violation of public policy. The New Jersey Supreme Court acknowledged these common law claims so that employees would have some way to assert their rights when employers fired them for something that public policy supports.

Protection For All Jobs

One of the most important aspects of the new Act is that it protects employees in every profession. Teachers, professional drivers, factory workers, office workers and every other type of profession is included under the terms of CREAMMA. Your choice to use or not use recreational marijuana on your own time is no longer any of your employer’s business.

If you have been discriminated against by your employer for marijuana use or a failed drug test for cannabinoids, you should speak to one of our experienced lawyers today. Call us at 856-291-0642 or contact us online for a confidential consultation with our New Jersey law firm.