New California Employment Law: AB 2188

Employment Law

New California Employment Law: AB 2188

Ready to take effect on January 1, 2024, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2188 into law. The new California employment law AB 2188 prohibits and makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against an individual in the hiring process, at termination, or at any term of employment, based on a person’s use of cannabis off the clock and away from the workplace.

Apart from that, the new California cannabis law serves as an amendment to the existing law of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which allows employees to bring claims against their employers for various reasons, such as harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.

What Does AB 2188 Say?

According to the bill, “It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalizing a person, if the discrimination is based upon any of the following:

(1) The person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace. This paragraph does not prohibit an employer from discriminating in hiring, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person based on scientifically valid pre-employment drug screening conducted through methods that do not screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites.

(2) An employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids.”

Who Is Exempted From The Law?

The bill exempts employees working in the building and construction trades. Also, this new California weed policy does not apply to those employees that require a federal background check as the use of marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. As per the bill, “This section does not apply to applicants or employees hired for positions that require a federal government background investigation or security clearance in accordance with regulations issued by the United States Department of Defense pursuant to Part 117 of Title 32 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or equivalent regulations applicable to other agencies.”

AB 2188 Does Not Affect An Employer’s Right To A Drug- And Alcohol-Free Workplace

While the new California bill passed may seem daunting to some employers, it simply does not prohibit employers from having a drug- and alcohol-free work policy. AB 2188 does not permit workers to consume marijuana on the job. Rather, the law passed focuses on protecting workers who use cannabis or marijuana in the after-hours while being away from their place of employment.

We Are Here To Help!

If you feel you are being discriminated against at work due to the use of cannabis outside the work premises or after work hours, we can help. Operating since 1989, Knoll Law Group represents individuals who have fallen victim to discrimination in the workplace.

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