Two Democratic lawmakers, state Sen. Lori Berman of Delray Beach and state Rep. Tina Polsky of Boca Raton, filed the Medical Marijuana Employee Protection Act (bills SB 962 and HB 595) ahead of Florida’s 2020 legislative session, which has been on going.
Under Florida’s Constitution, employers are not required to accommodate medical marijuana use in the workplace. Both bills (SB 962; HB 595), if passed, would extend to both private- and public-sector employees and employment applicants in Florida. If passed, one of the new rights these bills would provide to employees is the right to sue an employer if the employer takes an adverse employment action due to an employee’s status as a legal medical marijuana user.
Also, the measures would require the employer to provide written notice within five days of a positive test result to give employees and job applicants a chance to explain their results. At the moment, the only caveat relates to jobs involving safety-sensitive duties which is defined, at the moment, as: tasks or duties of a job that the employer reasonably believes could affect the safety and health of the employee performing the tasks or duties or other persons, including, but not limited to, any of the following:
- The handling, packaging, processing, storage, disposal, or transport of hazardous materials.
- The operation of a motor vehicle, equipment, machinery, or power tools.
- The repair, maintenance, or monitoring of any equipment, machinery, or manufacturing process, the malfunction or disruption of which could result in injury or property damage.
- The performance of firefighting duties.
- The operation, maintenance, or oversight of critical services and infrastructure including, but not limited to, electric, gas, and water utilities or power generation or distribution.
- The extraction, compression, processing, manufacturing, handling, packaging, storage, disposal, treatment, or transport of potentially volatile, flammable, combustible materials, elements, chemicals, or any other highly regulated component.
- The dispensing of pharmaceuticals.
- The carrying of a firearm.
- The direct care of a patient or child.