Written By: Mark McAndrew

The interplay between Illinois’ new cannabis legislation, Illinois’ Unemployment Insurance Act (Misconduct, Section 602), and employers’ zero-tolerance or drug free workplace policies, will be explored and judged under an evolving reasonableness standard.

Effective 1/1/2020, provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Act which specifically disqualify an individual from receiving unemployment benefits for consuming illegal drugs at the workplace or reporting to work under the influence of illegal drugs, will no longer apply to cannabis.

However, under certain circumstances, an individual’s cannabis use may still disqualify him/her from unemployment benefits, under Section 602’s general definition of “misconduct” – the violation of a “reasonable” employer rule governing work performance or zero tolerance drug free workplace policy.

“Reasonable” means there is a nexus between the employer’s rule and the workplace or there is a violation of a federal regulation.

Rathje Woodward advises clients on a broad range of employment and labor matters, including compliance, policies and procedures, internal investigations, administrative proceedings, collective bargaining negotiations and disputes, union avoidance policies and litigation defense.  If you have any questions about how these new laws may impact your business, contact Emily A. Shupe or Raymond J. Sanguinetti at 630-668-8500.  For more information regarding Rathje Woodward’s employment practice and its attorneys, please visit rathjelaw.com.