Can­na­bis use can send your job up in smo­ke

Mossel Bay Advertiser - - News - Chris­to Ver­maak P­ho­tos: Chris­to Ver­maak

Em­ploy­ees should heed ca­re­ful­ly that the Sun­day af­ter­noon can­na­bis joint may well re­sult in dis­mis­sal for in­tox­i­ca­ti­on in the work­pla­ce, e­ven up to 30 days la­ter. T­his is a war­ning from SA la­bour ex­perts, Jan du Toit and Mie­lies Steyn of Steyn La­bour Re­la­ti­ons Con­sul­tant.

Their war­ning fol­lows De­pu­ty Chief Jus­ti­ce Ray­mond Zon­do's ru­ling that it will not be a cri­mi­nal of­fen­ce for an a­dult per­son to use or be in pos­ses­si­on of can­na­bis in their p­ri­va­te spa­ce. The court has gi­ven Par­li­a­ment two y­e­ars to a­mend the re­le­vant le­gis­la­ti­on on pos­ses­si­on of the sub­stan­ce.

In the me­an­ti­me, la­bour ex­perts such as Du Toit and Steyn took a stan­ce on the ef­fect and con­se­quen­ces of smo­king can­na­bis. Steyn said the em­ploy­er, ac­cor­ding to the Occu­pa­ti­o­nal He­alth and Sa­fe­ty Act, has a re­spon­si­bi­li­ty to see that an em­ploy­ee is at no risk to him­self whi­le at work. “If un­der the in­flu­en­ce of can­na­bis, the em­ploy­er can send you ho­me wit­hout pay. T­his is sub­ject to furt­her dis­ci­pli­na­ry acti­ons.” Steyn ex­plai­ned that the ru­ling to le­ga­li­se can­na­bis is ba­sed on me­di­cal use. “It will be in­te­res­ting to see if a doc­tor pres­cri­bed it or if the u­ser di­ag­no­sed him­self.” He al­so claims that re­se­arch has sho­wn that the ef­fects of can­na­bis con­sump­ti­on va­ry due to a num­ber of fac­tors such as the met­hod of ad­mi­nis­tra­ti­on, can­na­bis form, fre­quen­cy and pe­ri­od of use. “So­me of the­se ef­fects in­clu­de eup­ho­ria, re­lax­a­ti­on, re­lief from stress and pain, in­cre­a­sed ap­pe­ti­te, and of gre­at con­cern to em­ploy­ers, im­pai­red mo­tor skills, con­fu­si­on, loss of con­cen­tra­ti­on and de­cre­a­sed mo­ti­va­ti­on. Can­na­bis may re­main de­tec­ta­ble in the b­lood­stre­am for days af­ter con­sump­ti­on and can be de­tected be­t­ween three to fi­ve days af­ter oc­ca­si­o­nal con­sump­ti­on and up to 15 days for he­a­vy u­sers and up to 30 days for chro­nic u­sers.”

He said that w­hen an em­ploy­ee ar­ri­ves at work and ap­pears to suf­fer from the­se ef­fects, un­li­ke al­co­hol, one can­not de­ter­mi­ne the le­vel of im­pair­ment ba­sed on test re­sults.

“P­roof of im­pair­ment is the­re­fo­re not re­qui­red as with al­co­hol, and an em­ploy­er is li­ke­ly to as­su­me that an em­ploy­ee is un­der the in­flu­en­ce of can­na­bis due to its in­tox­i­ca­ting na­tu­re. As an em­ploy­ee, it will not be pos­si­ble to now start clai­ming your le­gal rig­ht to p­ri­va­te con­sump­ti­on of can­na­bis. You may not en­ter a work­pla­ce with can­na­bis in your pos­ses­si­on or con­su­me it in p­ri­va­te pri­or to re­por­ting for du­ty." Ba­sed on the re­qui­re­ments of le­gis­la­ti­on, it is re­a­so­na­ble to con­clu­de that the Con­sti­tu­ti­o­nal Court judg­ment will not of­fer any pro­tecti­on to em­ploy­ees a­gainst dis­ci­pli­na­ry acti­on should they act in con­tra­ven­ti­on of com­pa­ny po­li­cy, li­ke­ly stem­ming from le­gis­la­ti­on.”

In terms of La­bour Re­la­ti­ons Act, S­che­du­le 8 of the Co­de of Good Practi­ce, that de­als with dis­mis­sal due to an em­ploy­ee’s in­ca­pa­ci­ty at work, the de­gree of in­ca­pa­ci­ty is re­le­vant to the fair­ness of any dis­mis­sal and the cau­se of the in­ca­pa­ci­ty may al­so be re­le­vant.

In the ca­se of cer­tain kinds of in­ca­pa­ci­ty, for ex­am­ple, al­co­ho­lism or d­rug a­bu­se, coun­sel­ling and re­ha­bi­li­ta­ti­on may be ap­pro­pri­a­te steps for an em­ploy­er to con­si­der.

Hed­ley Wil­de­man ta­king “a sip of the cup”.

Ge­or­ge Ben­gu smo­king can­na­bis.

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