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New Workplace Impairment Measures Across the US

As we’ve explained in many previous blog posts, workplace impairment measures are evolving constantly as marijuana becomes legal for medical and recreational use across the country and the world. Today we will examine three states - California, Louisiana, and New Jersey - through their changing laws and Otorize’s support for these measures, as well as how Otorize can help play a role in reducing workplace impairment.

Louisiana, California, and New Jersey are three states whichl have laws in place regarding workplace impairment, specifically related to drug and alcohol use. In Louisiana and California, it is illegal for an employee to report to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol; however, laws in both states “prohibit employment discrimination against state employees who use medical marijuana.” The law protects marijuana use outside of the workplace while enforcing workplace sobriety. New Jersey also prohibits employees from reporting to work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, “[t]he State of New Jersey is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace for all State employees in order to protect the health and safety of State employees and the public,” but this does not apply to the private sector. It's important to note that employers in each of these states, whether they work in the private or public sector, must comply with federal drug-free workplace laws in addition to any state laws.

The question remains in many states where legalization exists whether employers have the right to drug test employees. In New Jersey, employers can still drug test “[u]pon reasonable suspicion of an employee’s usage of a cannabis item while engaged in the performance of the employee’s work responsibilities” or even randomly. However, “[n]o employer shall refuse to hire or employ any person or shall discharge from employment or take any adverse action against any employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or other privileges of employment because that person does or does not smoke, vape, aerosolize or otherwise use cannabis items” outside of the workplace.

States like New Jersey are considering using a WIRE to determine impairment, which is a Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert; however, this process has not been fully implemented yet. Additionally, in order to accumulate significant evidence of workplace cannabis or alcohol use, an employer may “[u]se a cognitive impairment test, a scientifically valid, objective, consistently repeatable, a standardized automated test of an employee’s impairment,” such as Otorize “to establish reasonable suspicion of cannabis use or impairment at work.” Otorize’s test could be employed immediately and affordably, whereas the WIREs will take time and money to implement.

Otorize supports these measures to reduce workplace impairment across the country, as it is a growing threat, costing companies in reduced productivity, increased injuries and workplace accidents, and more. As states continue to implement measures, many requiring or suggesting cognitive impairment testing based on a baseline test, we hope you consider Otorize for your workplace. Otorize is a cost-effective solution, offering affordable, scientifically-proven results. It is also entirely non-invasive, requiring no bodily fluids. As state measures evolve, we hope Otorize can evolve with your company.



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