Preventing Marijuana Use Discrimination in California

As marijuana becomes legalized in several states across the U.S., California is taking the lead on ensuring that employers cannot discriminate against workers based on their status as card carrying medical marijuana users. They are doing this by proposing that these users be placed in a protected class.

AB 2069 has been developed to amend the current definition of protected classes, and would prohibit discrimination based on “race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military
and veteran status.”

While the California Supreme Court has ruled that employers in California do not have not accommodate medical marijuana users, this bill would change that altogether. With the general acceptance of marijuana changing, with 29 states plus the District of Columbia legalizing it, this bill goes right along with this acceptance factor by making it illegal to discriminate against those who use it.

While the bill is still in on hold, it is something to be aware of and keep an eye on, as it will change the landscape of how businesses function when it comes to persons who use medical marijuana. HR professionals should work to stay up to date on these changes so that policies surrounding the hiring and maintaining of protected class employees can be adjusted and updated to avoid any legal complications.