The legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois will not prevent Illinois employers from adopting and implementing reasonable workplace policies that preclude employees from being impaired by or under the influence of cannabis in the workplace or while “on call,” including “zero tolerance” and “drug free workplace” policies. Holland & Knight says that the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act does not compel employers to come out of compliance with applicable federal rules or regulations that require compliance with federal law, under which cannabis remains an illegal controlled substance. Employers retain the ability to adopt and enforce reasonable workplace policies such as “drug free” or “zero tolerance” policies and to impose discipline up to, and including, termination if an employee is impaired or under the influence of cannabis while in the workplace or on call. Employers generally cannot take adverse employment action against an employee who lawfully uses cannabis outside of working hours and is not impaired or under the influence of cannabis during working hours, while on duty or while “on call.” Should employees be found under the influence during work hours, the act authorizes employers to discipline employees up to and including termination for violations of their employment policies or workplace drug policy. If an employer elects discipline for an employee based on being impaired or under the influence of cannabis, the employer must afford the employee a reasonable opportunity to contest the basis of the determination.
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