Voters in Washington D.C. ended marijuana prohibition within the district last election day. Retail marijuana sales have not been legalized in the capital, but legislation to pass that is also in the works. If marijuana use is legalized, is it fair for employers to discriminate against users by drug testing job applicants?
Councilmember, Vincent Orange, does not think so, and he introduced a bill to address the issue. The “Prohibition of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Act of 2014” bill was heard by a D.C. Council Tuesday, and it was unanimously approved. This bill prevents employers from drug testing applicants during the hiring process, or before the job offer has been made.
Orange reportedly addressed this issue with the statements,
“The citizens of the District voted for Initiative 71, to legalize marijuana, and this bill will protect citizens who legally smoke marijuana but are then subsequently penalized for it through loss of employment opportunities. The bill aims to prevent the loss of a job opportunity for job seekers who have used marijuana prior to receiving a job offer but it does not remove an employer’s right to prohibit the use of drugs at work or at any time during employment.”
Once an employee officially accepts a job offer, he or she is still required to follow workplace policies, and nothing in the bill addresses drug testing hired employees. The bill only protects pre-employment discrimination for marijuana use.
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