Should I Tell Them?

Are you concerned about your employment due to your use of medical cannabis? Don’t worry, as long as your job doesn’t require you to operate heavy machinery or have specific job requirements, your medical information is confidential and you don’t have to disclose it. However, if you do choose to disclose it, seek advice from either a union representative or an employment lawyer. If your employer performs regular drug tests, you can inform them that THC may be present in your system and provide supporting evidence such as a clinical letter or copy of your prescription.

It’s important to remember that as a medical cannabis patient, you should be treated no differently than any other patient with a medical condition. You are protected under the Equality Act 2010, specifically Section 6, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. If you need further guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

What Should Employer’s Do?

When it comes to medical cannabis, employers should take a careful and considered approach. This involves obtaining consent from the employee and having their medical history reviewed by a qualified occupational health professional. Employers also need to assess the impact of the employee’s use of medical cannabis on their own health and safety, as well as that of other employees in the workplace. Updating the employer’s misuse of drugs and alcohol strategy may also be necessary, as employees who use medical cannabis may be classified as disabled under the Equality Act. By taking these steps, employers can ensure they are providing a safe and inclusive workplace for all employees.

Our Recommendations For Employers:

Disclosure: Job applicants may consider (but are not required to) disclose their use of prescription medicine during the recruitment stage or in advance of starting their course of work. Under the Equality Act 2010[3.6], employers must be careful not to breach the Equality Act in relation to an applicant’s health during the recruitment process. However, an employer can ask about the health of the applicant in some circumstances, including where it is necessary to establish that the applicant will be able to carry out a function that is intrinsic to the work concerned. Once an employee has started work, the employer can ask for information about the employee’s medical condition if they need to make reasonable adjustments. The employer must keep this information confidential, and only share it with those who need to know.

Risk Assessment: Employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare at work of both their employees and anyone affected by the employer’s undertaking. This includes assessing the risks associated with the use of prescription medicine in the workplace.

Employers must take appropriate measures to manage those risks, such as providing a safe working environment and appropriate managerial/supervisor training. Employees also have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and other persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work.

Adjustments: Employers may have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments for employees who have a disability, including, potentially, those who are prescribed medical cannabis. Reasonable adjustments may include adjusting work hours, providing a private area for medication, or modifying the employee’s duties. Employers are required to take such steps as are reasonable to have to take in the relevant circumstances.

Our Recommendations For Employees:

Disclosure: People can, but are not required, to disclose their use of prescription medicine to a potential employer in advance of starting work. Under the Equality Act 2010[3.5], employers may have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for employees with a disability in certain circumstances, which may include accommodating the use of prescribed medicines for medical purposes. An employer cannot compel an employee to supply a copy of the employee’s prescription for medical cannabis.

Follow Employer Policy: Employees should follow the employer’s policy on the use of prescription medicine in the workplace, including any requirements for disclosing use of prescription medicines, risk assessment, adjustments, and training. Employers may have specific policies in place for the use of prescribed medication, including cannabis, which must be adhered to by employees

Be Responsible: People prescribed any medicine, including medical cannabis, should always use the prescription medicine responsibly and in accordance with the relevant directions and avoid any impairment that could put themselves or others at risk. For example, driving while impaired is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988. Employers also have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees and any non-employees affected by the employer’s undertaking.

Resources

Here are some documents related to Medical Cannabis prescriptions and Employment Rights.

This is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. Please use this information to help you inform yourself and others about what the rights are for patients of medical cannabis according to offical documents.

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