Voters in Michigan, Utah and Missouri passed marijuana-related ballot measures in the November 2018 elections. Michigan, which legalized medical marijuana in 2008, became the tenth state to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Utah voters agreed to institute a formal structured medical marijuana program, greatly expanding the scope of the state’s existing medical marijuana law, and Missouri voters for the first time authorized the state to create a system of licensed marijuana dispensaries for medical purposes. Each of these measures recognizes that marijuana remains a controlled substance, and illegal, under federal law, and that authorized users, growers, physicians, and any others who properly support or participate in these programs will be shielded from liability only under state law.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws which decriminalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Under those statutory schemes, individuals with qualified medical conditions may become registered cardholders and obtain cannabis for medical purposes, often from state-regulated dispensaries. These developments present an array of new challenges for employers to navigate.
In Enforcement Guidance issued last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took the position that employers should accommodate the physical restrictions of women with normal, uncomplicated pregnancies as if those women had protected disabilities.
On April 22, 2014, the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of an ADA case against Ford Motor Company, finding that there was a fact issue as to whether telecommuting most days is a reasonable accommodation. In EEOC v. Ford Motor Company (No. 12-2484), the court addressed an increasingly common, yet persistently difficult, question: when must employees be allowed to work remotely, and when is physical, in-person attendance an essential function of a job?
On October 2, 2013, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law an amendment to the city’s Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), expanding the scope of the pregnancy discrimination protections provided under the law. Although discrimination on the basis of an employee’s pregnancy has long been prohibited under the NYCHRL, as well as under state and federal law, the new amendment makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse to reasonably accommodate “the needs of an employee for her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”