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A Question of Impairment

by Gillian Woroniuk ASEBP | April 19 2018

Have you been wondering about how your workplace might be impacted by the upcoming legalization of recreational cannabis and the potential increased use of medical cannabis? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Forward-looking organizations across the country (like yourselves!) are busy mining for ways to pre-empt any potential hurdles these changes might pose through careful policy development and review.

Through the process of looking at our own employee impairment/drug and alcohol policy we had some interesting learnings and best-practice findings we wanted to share with our Sandbox community. Perhaps the most important of which is that rather than developing a cannabis-specific policy or one that addresses only one substance, the best way to support the continued health and safety of employees is to have a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy that is broad enough in scope to accommodate any impairment issues that might arise in the workplace.

Some other tenets of an effective drug and alcohol policy (a very short version of a somewhat complicated story, yet with a number of unknowns) are that the policy should:

  • Be inclusive of all employees
  • Be context-specific and culturally sensitive to your unique workplace setting
  • At a minimum, involve both your human resources and legal teams to ensure they’re comprehensive enough to support the continued protection of your employees’ health and safety

See our Addressing Impairment in the Workplace resource for a more comprehensive list of best practice reminders for developing or reviewing your drug and alcohol policy (including a link to a sample policy) and additional information to consider when addressing this issue in your policies.

If you or your team has done work in this area and has any tidbits of wisdom to share, we’d love to hear them in either in the comments below or on the forum.

Gillian Woroniuk

With countless years of communications experience under her belt, the self-titled 'G' used to be ASEBP’s very own super communicator. While she will certainly forget your name and is unable to get across a bridge without a panic attack, Gillian’s the one you want when you need someone to round out your punk rock air guitar band.