AB 2188 Protections for off-site, off-duty marijuana use beginning January 1, 2024
The legalization of recreational marijuana in 2016 led many to question the California Supreme Court’s decision in Ross v. RagingWire Telecommunications Inc., 42 Cal.4th 920 (2008), which held in part that, despite the legalization of medical marijuana in 1996, an employer could lawfully refuse to hire a job candidate who failed a drug test, even if it was the result of legal marijuana use. Although the passing of Proposition 64 in 2016 did not impact the holding in Ross (in fact, the law explicitly preserved its holding), societal attitudes towards marijuana have shifted significantly since the Court’s decision.
Starting on January 1, 2024, AB 2188 will amend FEHA to prohibit discrimination based upon an employee’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace, partially superseding Ross. The bill does not prohibit an employer’s use and reliance on pre-employment drug screenings that determine current impairment or active levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”). It also has some exceptions, including for workers in the building and construction trades and applicants and employees subject to federal background investigations or clearances.