“Reasonable Accommodations” for Medical Marijuana in the Workplace?
What Are the Rules in Pennsylvania?
Medical marijuana has been legal in Pennsylvania since 2016—and under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities to help them do their jobs with minimal impairment.
You would think that, given these facts, nobody in Pennsylvania would ever be legally fired for marijuana-related reasons in the workplace, so long as they had a medical marijuana card. But you’d think wrong.
Employers are still able to deny workers accommodations in certain situations—and workers can still be fired for going against their employers’ policies with regard to marijuana use, even when they have a medical marijuana card. Here’s a look at the details.
How the Law Protects Medical Marijuana Users
Under the law in Pennsylvania, your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you because of your status as a medical marijuana user. It is unlawful for them to fire you, threaten to fire you, refuse to hire you, deny you a promotion, or take other adverse actions against you.
This includes if you test positive for marijuana on a drug test and you have a medical marijuana card. While these laws are relatively new and untested in Pennsylvania courts, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania held in August of 2021 that an employee with a medical marijuana certification was allowed to sue her employer for firing her because of the results of her drug test.
How the Law Doesn’t Protect Medical Marijuana Users
So, in general, you’re allowed to use medical marijuana in your time off—and your employer is usually not permitted to take adverse actions against you for a positive result on a drug test if you have a medical marijuana card.
However, using marijuana at work is not protected—even if you have a medical marijuana certification.
It seems at first glance as though this would go against the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Those who use medical marijuana in Pennsylvania have a verified health condition that meets state requirements, and being allowed to use marijuana at work should be a reasonable accommodation.
However, marijuana is illegal under federal law without a medical exception, which means that the ADA does not allow for its use in the workplace.
At the state level, while it is usually unlawful for Pennsylvania employers to discriminate against medical marijuana users, employers can take adverse action against employees found to use marijuana in the workplace—even if they have a medical marijuana card.
Questions About Medical Marijuana Use in the Workplace? Ask an Employment Lawyer
Is your employer discriminating against you for being a medical marijuana user? If you suspect that’s the case, you should speak to a knowledgeable employment attorney right away.
Your attorney can help assess the situation, determine whether your employer is in violation of the law, and help you gain restitution.
Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, confidential consultation today.
The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.