If a proposed New Jersey bill passes, employers will find it much more difficult to fire a registered medical marijuana patient in the Garden State.
The intent of S-3142 is to “establish protection from adverse employment action for authorized medical marijuana patients,” according to the text of the bill.
“It shall be unlawful to take any adverse employment action against an employee who is a qualified registered patient using medical marijuana,” the proposed bill reads.
This protection would extend to employees who are drug tested on the job, the bill states.
“If an employer has a drug testing policy and an employee or job applicant tests positive for marijuana, the employer shall offer the employee or job applicant an opportunity to present a legitimate medical explanation for the positive test result, and shall provide written notice of the right to explain to the employee or job applicant,” the bill states.
Under the proposed bill, employers would be prohibited from:
Refusing to hire or employ a qualified registered patient, barring or discharging a qualified registered patient from employment
Requiring a qualified registered patient to retire from employment
Discriminating against a qualified registered patient in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment
Employers would still be allowed to take action against a worker if they “establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the lawful use of medical marijuana has impaired the employee’s ability to perform the employee’s job responsibilities,” according to the bill.
In addition, nothing in the bill would restrict an employer’s ability to prohibit or take adverse employment action for the possession or use of intoxicating substances during work hours, or require an employer to commit any act that would cause the employer to be in violation of federal law or that would result in the loss of a federal contract or federal funding.
On Monday, the NJ Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee voted 6-0 with one abstention to release the bill to the full 40-member Senate for an upcoming vote, NJ.com reported.