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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Marijuana (8)

Thursday
Jan122017

Election Year Creates Complexity for Employers: Verrill Dana Hosts Full-Day Conference, 2017 Annual Employment Law Update

The 2016 elections – local and national – have given rise to a number of complicated developments in labor and employment law. To help employers understand these changes and how to address them, Verrill Dana will host a full-day Annual Employment Law Update on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at The Westin Portland Harborview Hotel.

“While we were all focused on the minimum salary rule, courts and agencies across the country implemented changes that will affect how human resources professionals will do their job in 2017 and beyond,” said Doug Currier, Chair of the Labor & Employment Group. “This year’s conference will highlight how to navigate the ever-evolving employment landscape and best practices for addressing increasingly prevalent workplace scenarios.”

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Wednesday
Nov092016

Maine Passes Recreational Marijuana Statute—What Does This Mean for Employers

While still up for debate (as of the time of the writing of this blog), most news outlets and agencies in Maine are reporting that Question 1 on yesterday’s ballot has passed—therefore providing for recreational use of marijuana in Maine. What does this mean for employers?  That is the question of the day.

The statute itself provides the following as to employers:

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Wednesday
Nov092016

Marijuana is Legal in Massachusetts . . . Now What

On Tuesday, Massachusetts residents legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.  How does this effect your relationship with your employees and what steps should you be taking in the near future? 

First, the statute includes an employment provision which provides that: “This chapter shall not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this chapter in the workplace and shall not affect the authority of employers to enact and enforce workplace policies restricting the consumption of marijuana by employees.”  Accordingly, now is the time to get out your employee handbooks and your anti-drug policies and review the language included in the policies to make sure that the language restricts the use of drugs that are illegal under either state or federal law, as you don’t want to find yourself in a position arguing that marijuana is “legal” under state law, but “illegal” under federal law.

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Wednesday
Apr202016

Dude, I Think He’s High…Can I Fire Him?

Oftentimes clients ask, “When we think an employee is high, can we fire him?” My answer is consistently the same, “That depends.” It depends on a whole host of factors, what state do you live in, what industry do you work in, why do you think he’s high, but most importantly, what is your risk tolerance?

In at-will states (of which many are), an employer can terminate an employee for any reason as long as it is not in violation of a law. The problem is, the list of laws which protect employees continues to become longer and longer. Employee protections related to the use of controlled substances is no exception. We see the ADA, state marijuana laws, OSHA, state drug testing laws, and other fair employment practices laws consistently affecting the marijuana in the workplace analysis.

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Tuesday
Jan122016

Tractor Supply Co. Plowing New Terrain in Medical Marijuana Law

Last week, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico issued a memorandum and order granting Tractor Supply Company’s Motion to Dismiss in Garcia v. Tractor Supply Co. The Plaintiff, Rojerio Garcia, suffers from HIV/AIDS and was using medical marijuana under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (“CUA”), N.M. Stat. Ann. § 26-2B-1, to help to treat his condition. Mr. Garcia applied for and was hired for a position as Team Lead and took a drug test, which tested positive for cannabis metabolites. As a result, Mr. Garcia was discharged from his position. Mr. Garcia brought suit alleging his termination violated New Mexico’s Human Rights statute and that the CUA requires Tractor Supply Co. to accommodate his medical marijuana use.

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Monday
Dec212015

Holi-daze: SHRM's Legal Marijuana Survey

Dear reader, the powers that be at Blog HQ have decreed that all posts between now and next Friday adhere to a holiday theme. So while you’re celebrating with seasonally appropriate herbs, consider the results of the survey from the Society for Human Resource Management concerning employer drug policies in states that have legalized medical and/or recreational use of marijuana.

Some of the numbers from SHRM’s study, available here:

  • 82% of respondents in states allowing recreational and medical use have zero tolerance for use while working, regardless of the reason. 11% made exceptions for medical use (with potentially applicable restrictions);
  • 29% percent of respondents in jurisdictions allowing recreational and medical use said they had modified their substance use policy since legalization. While that may not be too surprising, 37% of all respondents indicated that their policies are now actually more restrictive in terms of imposing discipline for marijuana use;
  • 44% of all respondents said that their companies do not hire recreational marijuana users.