Almost a majority of the states allow medical marijuana, so a common question is how does the use of medical marijuana affect the rights under other laws, and in particular, the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”)?
The FMLA allows employees who have been employed for at least one year with their employer, and worked 1250 hours in the last year for that employer, to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, provided they work at a location where there are at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the location. The 12 weeks can be for family leave – birth or adoption of a child, or medical leave – if the employee is sick or they need to care for certain sick family members. The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against those who are disabled, and those associated with a disabled person. In addition, the ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to the disabled employee so the employee can perform the essential duties of their job. While these two laws give employees certain rights, one must also remember that marijuana use is illegal throughout the United States under federal law, even in those states where its use is legal under state law.