New Assembly Bill Could Provide California FEHA Protection for Off-the-Job Cannabis Use

At Romero Law, our skilled Pasadena employment law attorneys keep a sharp eye on changes to both new and amended California legislation, so we can help protect employees’ rights throughout the state.

This month, our blog is covering two important pieces of legislation that could change the landscape of California workplaces.

The first is California Assembly Bill 2188.

What is California Assembly Bill 2188?

California Assembly Bill 2188 addresses discrimination in employment regarding the use of cannabis.

The bill would make it unlawful for employers to discriminate against applicants or employees for their use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.

The bill, in part, seeks to stop employers from considering the results of drug tests that indicate the presence of THC metabolites in a person’s urine, hair, blood, or bodily fluids, as they do not indicate whether the person is currently impaired.

The bill explains metabolites may remain in a person’s body for weeks after the use of cannabis, and bars discrimination for off-the-job use, regardless of whether it is used for medical or recreational reasons.

Should the bill be enacted, it would not bar employers from basing actions involving applicants and employees on tests that identify the presence of THC — as opposed to metabolites — during saliva or other bodily fluid test to assess impairment.

What are the Violation Penalties for AB 2188?

If enacted, the bill will add a new provision to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act’s Government Code section 12954.

That means violations of the new provision would be enforceable by an individual’s employment lawsuit for economic losses, emotional distress damages, attorney’s fees, and potentially punitive damages, as well as by action by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

As of August 25, 2022, the bill was read a third time and amended, and scheduled for a new reading. This article will be updated as the bill moves through the Senate.  

Contact Our Skilled Employment Law Attorneys in Pasadena, California Today

If you have questions about California employment legislation, and how it impacts legalities in the workplace, contact our experienced Los Angeles County employment law attorneys to discuss your unique circumstances today.

Our employment law firm and bilingual staff offer services in both English and Spanish and are available now to discuss your case during a free consultation by calling 626-396-9900 or contacting us online.

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