NOT SURE HOW TO HANDLE UPCOMING WORKPLACE
IMPACTS FROM LEGALIZED MARIJUANA USE? ASK AN
ARTIFICIALLY INTELLIGENT LEGAL TOOL.
Not so long ago, the legalization of recreational marijuana
and the practical application of artificial intelligence in
human resources seemed like remote possibilities. Yet, as
far out as they may seem, these developments are a reality
and their impacts on the workplace are imminent.
This summer, recreational marijuana will be legalized in
Canada – and there remain many lingering questions about its
consequences for workplaces. HR professionals are particularly
curious since they will inevitably be confronted with the challenging
question of what constitutes legally justified testing for
employee cannabis use.
To answer this question, and others like it, employers and
employment lawyers are turning to a widely discussed and rapidly
growing technology: artificial intelligence (AI).
AI’s introduction as a practical and reliable tool for professionals
couldn’t have come at a better time. Given the prospect of
increased employee cannabis use, HR teams around the country
are actively laying the groundwork for the drug testing policies
they’ll be introducing or revamping to ensure workplace safety.
In the coming months, many HR professionals will reach out to
legal counsel to tackle questions such as whether or not prospective
employees can be screened for drug use and how to fairly and
legally conduct employee drug testing (randomly, targeted,
post-incident, etc.); some will attempt to find the answers on
their own. However, one notable challenge stands in the way:
there isn’t yet a statutory regime that provides a clear and fixed
set of rules that outline when employers can mandate drug
testing for employees.
Until now, judges and adjudicators have relied heavily on
the common law; that is, on decisions reached by the courts in
similar cases in the past. There are hundreds of past decisions
addressing a multitude of nuanced drug testing situations.
By Benjamin Alarie
sashkin/123RF Stock Photo
The New Frontier
of Legal Research
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ APRIL 2018 ❚ 39