Beginning January 1, 2024, and following the passage of Assembly Bill 2188, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) will add employee protections against discrimination based on off-the-job cannabis use with a few, limited exceptions. Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2188 into law on September 18, 2022. AB 2188 focuses on employee impairment from cannabis use, which it correlates only to the psychoactive component of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and places new requirements on employer-required drug screening tests. AB 2188 is significant because it is the first time that California’s permissive cannabis-use laws have been incorporated into the employment realm. California employers should consider reviewing their job application process and any pre-employment drug screening protocols, as well as their policies and practices relating to drug screening in connection with hiring, discipline, and termination to ensure they will comply with the new law.
Tyler Z. Bernstein is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Orange County office.