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Retailers Can Maintain Drug Free Workplace Despite State Legalization of Marijuana

Many retailers wonder what effect, if any, legalization of recreational marijuana has on their ability to maintain a drug free workplace.

Recreational marijuana has been legalized in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Marijuana still remains an illegal Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and therefore still subject to prosecution under federal law.

Legalization of marijuana in the above states does not affect an employer’s ability to enact and enforce workplace restrictions related to drug possession, use, impairment, and testing. For example, California’s “Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” commonly referred to as Proposition 64, contains express language specifying that it does not:

  • affect the rights and obligations of public and private employers to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace;
  • require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growth of marijuana in

Retailers Prepare to Meet New Salary and Overtime Requirements

By now, most retailers and other employers have evaluated the impact, if any, that the new Department of Labor (DOL) regulations will have on their workforce beginning on December 1, 2016, when the minimum salary requirement for exempt status will increase to $913 per week ($47,476, annually). For many retailers, a portion of their workforce will now be classified as non-exempt workers and eligible for daily and/or weekly overtime compensation.   Implementation of the new rules, however, also requires careful consideration of the retailer’s payroll and timekeeping practices to ensure compliance with other state and federal laws that affect non-exempt employees.

Be mindful of “off the clock” work:

Reclassification of employees to hourly, non-exempt positions not only changes the way employees are paid, but also requires employees to think differently about how their work activities affect their pay. Employees, who previously were paid a salary regardless of the number of hours worked each pay

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