Can An Employer Refuse to Hire Me Because I Use Medical Marijuana?

Posted by: Chris

Employers should consider a number of factors when determining who to hire for an open position. For example, employers typically look at each candidate’s work history, references, skills, and education. But, what about a candidate’s medical marijuana use? Can an employer refuse to hire you because you are a legal user of medicinal marijuana? Here’s what you should know:

Marijuana Use Discrimination in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Use and Patient Protection Act, also known as the Unity Bill, was signed into law earlier this year. This law was established to clarify workplace rights of both employers and employees who legally use marijuana. According to this law, employers cannot discriminate against a candidate solely because he tested positive for marijuana as long as he has a valid medical marijuana license. This means an employer cannot refuse to hire you simply because you use medical marijuana as long as you provide proof that you are a licensed user. However, there is one exception to this rule.

The “Safety-Sensitive Work” Exception

The law that was passed earlier this year gives employers the right to take a job applicant’s marijuana use into consideration when making a hiring decision under certain circumstances. If the applicant is applying to a “safety-sensitive” position, the employer can refuse to hire him if he tests positive for marijuana even if he has a license to use medical marijuana. 

A safety-sensitive position may include any job where the worker is expected to perform one or more of the following job duties:

  • Working with hazardous or flammable materials
  • Possessing or using a firearm
  • Firefighting
  • Working with pharmaceuticals
  • Operating vehicles or heavy machinery
  • Caring for patients or children
  • Maintaining critical infrastructure

These are just some of the many job duties that are considered safety-sensitive. Workers that hold these positions are held to higher standards since a single mistake could lead to a tragic accident. For this reason, it is within an employer’s rights to refuse to hire someone for one of these safety-sensitive positions if they test positive for marijuana. This is true even if the applicant provides proof of his medical marijuana license.

Have you been discriminated against because of your marijuana use? If so, seek legal representation from Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys are committed to helping workers in Oklahoma protect their workplace rights. Let us hold your employer accountable for violating your rights. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll-free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.