Washington Senate Passes Invoice Banning Hiring Discrimination for Pot Use


The Washington Senate this week authorised a invoice that may shield hashish customers from pre-employment job discrimination. The measure, Senate Invoice 5123, was handed by the state Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 28-21 and can now be thought-about by the Washington Home of Representatives. 

Below the bill, employers could be barred from refusing to rent a job candidate based mostly solely on the outcomes of pre-employment screening for hashish use. The laws doesn’t embody safety for different substances, so screenings for different medication would nonetheless be allowed in the course of the hiring course of.

“It comes all the way down to discriminating towards individuals who use hashish,” state Senator Karen Keiser, the lead sponsor of the invoice and the chair of the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, said in a statement cited by on-line information website The Middle Sq.. “For individuals utilizing a authorized substance, having a pre-employment check like that is simply plain unfair, and we must always cease it.”

“At a time when the variety of unfilled positions is extraordinarily excessive, we shouldn’t be limiting our workforce by deterring certified job candidates,” she added. “This laws opens the door for individuals who would possibly in any other case not even apply for a place.”

The laws doesn’t apply to some jobs together with positions within the airline and aerospace industries. The measure additionally doesn’t apply to jobs that require a federal background examine or safety clearance.

Whereas the invoice protects potential staff from drug exams whereas making use of for a job, Keiser famous that the invoice doesn’t forestall employers from subjecting their employees to drug screenings for weed throughout employment. Below the measure, corporations will nonetheless be allowed to fireside staff who check optimistic for hashish in an effort to keep a drug-free office. Employers may additionally topic staff to a drug check for hashish use after a office accident or if they think a employee is impaired by hashish whereas on the job.

“In case your employer desires to check you each week after you’re employed, they’re nonetheless in a position to do this,” Keiser said. “That is merely opening the entrance door of getting right into a job. As a result of too many individuals who see that they need to take a drug check to even apply, don’t even apply.”

Washington Legalized Leisure Pot In 2012

Washington legalized leisure marijuana in 2012 with the passage of Initiative 502, a poll measure that was supported by almost 56% of voters. However whereas the measure protected hashish customers from prosecution, the initiative didn’t embody protections for employees who use weed off the job. 

Nevada turned the primary state to guard job candidates from pre-employment drug exams for hashish in 2019. Since then, different states have additionally handed employment safety measures, together with a California invoice defending employees from discrimination based mostly on their use of marijuana whereas off the clock that was handed final yr.

Hashish advocates who assist employment protections notice that present drug screenings can solely decide the presence of hashish metabolites, which might stay within the system lengthy after utilizing marijuana. Burl Bryson, government director of The Hashish Alliance, advised lawmakers at a public listening to final month that potential job candidates can eat hashish legally “and nonetheless check optimistic … weeks later.”

“If the identical strategy have been utilized to alcohol, employers would refuse employment to anybody who loved a beer or a glass of wine on the weekend,” said Bryson. “Everyone knows that this isn’t a workable commonplace.”

“It merely doesn’t make sense to base an employment choice on that sort of unreliable consequence and check,” Keiser advised her colleagues within the Senate earlier than Wednesday’s vote.

Brian Fitzpatrick, CEO of the hashish trade compliance platform Qredible, mentioned that there are respectable causes for some employers to keep up a drug-free office. However he added that “exceptions have to be made, notably for medical hashish customers, but in addition for accountable grownup customers.”

“There are insurance policies that exist that govern not displaying up for work intoxicated inebriated, and hashish ought to be no completely different,” Fitzpatrick wrote in an electronic mail to Excessive Occasions. “In contrast to alcohol, there’s analysis suggesting that hashish use doesn’t considerably impair job efficiency, as such, employers ought to re-evaluate their insurance policies relating to hashish use to create a extra equitable strategy to hashish customers.”

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