WORK WITH US
SB 700 – Modifies Law Prohibiting Employment Discrimination Based On Applicant Or Employee’s Off-The-Job Cannabis Use
Under existing law, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), effective January 1, 2024, makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person if the discrimination is based on either of the following:
- The person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace
- An employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids.
Existing law does not, however, permit an employee to possess, to be impaired by, or to use, cannabis on the job, nor does existing law affect the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace, as required by law. Existing law also does not prohibit an employer from discriminating in hiring, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person based on scientifically valid pre-employment drug screening conducted through methods that do not screen for nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites. Finally, existing law does not preempt state or federal laws requiring applicants or employees to be tested for controlled substances, including laws and regulations requiring applicants or employees to be tested, or the manner in which they are tested, as a condition of employment.
Effective January 1, 2024, Senate Bill 700 (SB 700) makes it unlawful for an employer to request information from an applicant for employment relating to the applicant’s prior use of cannabis. A person’s prior cannabis use obtained from the person’s criminal history may only be considered or inquired into to the extent the employer is permitted to do so under California’s Fair Chance Act (Gov. Code, Section 12952), or other state or federal law.
SB 700 falls under the general definition of “employer” under the FEHA and, therefore, it applies to any employer regularly employing five or more persons, but does not apply to a nonprofit religious corporation.
(SB 700 amends Section 12954 of the Government Code.)