NYS Issues Guidance On Cannabis Use In The Workplace

October 18, 2021 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

When it comes to employee use of cannabis in the workplace, you better be using a scalpel and not a sledge hammer. That’s my Captain-Obvious takeaway from recently released and helpful guidance issued by New York’s Department Of Labor answering a series of questions it has received from New York employers scrambling to comply with New York law now that the recreational use of pot is legal for individuals 21 years of age or older. 

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) has two major components. First, it authorizes the creation of a licensed industry to facilitate the production, sale, and distribution of recreational cannabis to individuals 21 years or older in New York State. This component of the bill is behind schedule as the state has only recently appointed the key individuals who will be responsible for overseeing the creation of this new industry. A second component of the bill legalized the recreational use of cannabis. This part of the bill is already in effect. This has several challenging implications for employers big and small in New York State.

To provide just one narrow example of the type of issues employers have to deal with, keep in mind that, subject to certain exceptions, an employer can only take action against an employee when the employee, while working, manifests specific articulable symptoms of cannabis impairment that interfere with the employer’s obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace as required by state and federal workplace safety laws. This promises to be one of the great tripwires of litigation for years to come. There is no definitive list of what satisfies this criteria. Instead, the determination will be an extremely fact sensitive one. 

This means of course that if you haven’t started training your supervisors on what steps to take when confronted with a potentially stoned employee you better start now. This is just one small example of the type of issues raised by the new law. The guidance won’t provide you all of the answers but it will give you a concise place to find all the questions you should be asking. 

FinCEN Documents Sharp Rise in Ransomware Attacks

A report released by FinCEN on Friday confirms what we have known anecdotally for months: the COVID 19 pandemic has been accompanied by a sharp rise in ransomware attacks over a broad cross section of industries. There have been a total of 590 million ransomware SAR filings in the first 6 months of the year. According to FinCEN this represents a 42% increase compared to the same period last year.

Of course, this makes it the perfect time to increase financial reporting requirements for perfectly legal account transactions. Note the sarcasm.

On that happy note enjoy your day. 

Entry filed under: HR, New York State, Regulatory. Tags: , , , , , .

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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., Senior Vice President, General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association. In addition, although Henry strives to give his readers useful and accurate information on a broad range of subjects, many of which involve legal disputes, his views are not a substitute for legal advise from retained counsel.

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