Oregon: drug-testing policies won’t change for state jobs

went into effect at the beginning of July, many state employers have begun releasing memos re-stating their drug policies and reminding employees that nothing is likely to change in those policies. Employers are still allowed to conduct drug tests, and ensure their employees show up for work sober, though some acknowledge that what an employee does on his or her own time is their own business. “If an employee wants to smoke a joint at home at night with their dinner, okay, as long as they don’t come to work impaired,” said Anna Kanwit, Portland’s human resources director. However, some job positions do not have that flexibility. Under Oregon and federal laws, some positions are prohibited from using medicinal or recreational marijuana under any circumstances. Those who were previously prohibited from using marijuana — including law enforcement officers, firefighters and commercial drivers — must still eschew legal marijuana in order to keep their jobs. Oregon’s largest transit agency, TriMet, issued a statement to employees that said, “[O]ur policy still prohibits the consumption of marijuana by any employee at any time for any purpose.” Employees of TriMet include railway conductors, mechanics and maintenance crews, bus drivers and other transportation positions where employee actions can affect public safety. Even if one’s position doesn’t fall under that prohibition umbrella, that doesn’t mean that drug usage will be tolerated, even if it’s legal. Portland’s school district maintains its zero-tolerance drug policies for all on-campus or school-related events, as well as field trips. Many other schools have similar drug-free district policies. Despite the recreational legality, if an employee shows up for work high and fails a drug test, an employer may still enact disciplinary measures. Oregon is an at-will employment state. All marijuana usage, including medicinal, is still illegal under federal law.]]>

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