Oregon lawmakers are fighting to prevent companies from firing employees who get stoned after hours.
A piece of legislation (Senate Bill 301) has been introduced to the state’s legislative forces that would make it illegal for an employer to terminate a worker simply for using marijuana. The measure takes the issue a step further by stopping businesses from rejecting job applicants simply based on a positive test result for the THC compound.
The proposal aims to amend ORS569A.315, a provision designed to protect workers from being discriminated against for using tobacco products off-the-clock, in an effort to create a similar defense for that portion of the workforce who consumes cannabis as outlined under state law.
“It is an unlawful employment practice for any employer to require, as a condition of employment, that any employee or prospective employee refrain from using a substance that is lawful to use under the laws of this state during nonworking hours,” the updated version of the law would read.
However, the bill would not make marijuana users untouchable in the workplace. The measure would still give companies the right to fire those workers who are impaired on the job. Businesses would also be permitted to make collective bargaining agreements a prerequisite of employment -- giving employees the option of signing a contract that prohibits off-duty marijuana use or be put in a position to find other employment.
There has been a considerable amount of controversy on this issue over the past couple of years. Mostly recently, a company responsible for firing a worker who used medical marijuana on his own time was ordered to rehire the man and pay him $22,000 in lost wages.