Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sounding Board: How to deal with medical marijuana in the workplace - BENEFITS CANADA

by Yafa Sakkejha and Joel Gomes 
Originally published: January 25, 2017

Whenever we mention the phrase “medical marijuana in the workplace,” we’re met with eye-rolls and smirks. After all, a poll we conducted in September 2016 found only 21 per cent of business leaders in small and medium-sized companies believe medical marijuana should be covered under a group benefits plan.

But employers also have to consider other ways marijuana could affect their workplace: productivity, the health of coworkers and branding. It must also be taken seriously in the context of medical accommodation.

Medical marijuana, which has been legal in Canada since 2001, must be treated like any other prescription medication. The need for medical marijuana can be seen as evidence of a disability, such as arthritis, cancer, chronic pain or sleeping disorders, and the Canada Human Rights Act protects employees against discrimination on the grounds of disability.