What Employers Should Know About Recreational Marijuana in Massachusetts

In July, Massachusetts became one of nine states to legalize recreational marijuana. The state, however, has no statutory protection for employees lawful off-duty conduct, such as smoking, so employers may terminate an employee for off-duty and/or off-site recreational marijuana use. Courts would be unlikely to protect employees who test positive for recreational marijuana use. It does, after all, remain illegal under federal law. To minimize the risk of a viable legal claim resulting from an employees termination, there are several things employers can do: 1. Enforce zero-tolerance policies; loosen drug-testing policies as recreational use becomes more prevalent; eliminate standardized testing policies; and update employee handbooks.

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