Ask The Expert: Asking Workers about their Prescription Drugs
With legalized marijuana approaching, we were wondering if you can ask employees to disclose if they’re using a prescription drug that could impair their ability to work safety?
It depends on who, how and why you ask and how you use the information.
Normally, asking employees which prescription meds they use, including but not limited to marijuana, is a form of disability discrimination banned by human rights laws. But such questions are okay if:
- They’re directly related to job performance;
- The job is safety-sensitive;
- You limit the question to drugs that cause impairment;
- You don’t ask for the drug’s name or medical condition the employee takes it for; and
- You keep the information private and confidential.
Suggestion: Adopt a fitness for duty policy like the one in SCI https://ohsinsider.com/topics/wellness/fitness-duty-substance-abuse-policy-alberta-version encouraging employees to disclose any impairing drugs they use and offering help rather than discipline to employees who do come forward.