Question: I have an employee whose performance has been generally good. She has had some medical issues, has lost some time, but nothing of major concern until recently. Lately she doesn’t seem “with it.” She has not been attentive and has been late for work on several occasions. She had normally been very good with our customers but now seems to ignore them. I want to talk to her but the rumor is that she has a script for medical marijuana and I’m afraid that by talking to her I’ll open up a can of worms. The last thing I want is to have my customers and other employees seeing her smoking dope in the parking lot or walking around stoned. What should I do?
Advice: To begin, Maine’s medical marijuana laws do not require employers to allow their employees to smoke at work or to work stoned.
Deal with the issue as a performance issue. Do not mention the medical marijuana, nor should you get into diagnosing. Your concern is her performance. Focus on what you know and what you have observed. Address her tardiness and how she has been dealing with the customers. Be clear about your expectations. Be sure she understands and ask her what she will do to improve her performance. If she brings up marijuana, be clear to her that she cannot work while under the influence—just as you would with any other prescription medication that impairs an individual’s performance. Document your conversation and monitor her performance. You have a right to expect her to perform up to your expectations.
Maine’s Medical Marijuana law:
- Does not require employers to allow an employee to ingest medical marijuana while at work or to work under the influence of medical marijuana
- Does not require an employer to forego any safety precautions consistent with other controlled substances simply because the ingestion of medical marijuana was prescribed
- Does not prohibit an employer from taking disciplinary action against an employee who has ingested medical marijuana while at work or is impaired at work. Employers should be consistent. Address medical marijuana use the same way you would handle other controlled substances or alcohol at work