Today's Labour News

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newsPretoria News reports that the 2018 Constitutional Court decision to legalise the consumption of cannabis “in private” has created a number of challenges for employers and employees.

Among them is the question of whether an employee could lose their job by consuming dagga outside working hours, especially in safety-sensitive industries where workers are prohibited from being under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. This was one of the legal and ethical dilemmas raised in a recent research article in the SA Medical Journal. Forensic toxicology Dr JB Laurens and criminal and medical law expert Professor Pieter Carstens said the decision to legalise the consumption of dagga created challenges for employers and employees because labour laws such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Machinery and Occupational Safety Act made it an offence for staff to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs at work. To ensure that constitutional rights to privacy, freedom of religion, autonomy and other rights were properly balanced against the right of other members of the public to safety and health, Laurens and Carstens called for a “legally defensible” approach to the regulation of dagga by adopting a similar approach to regulation of legal alcohol use. They noted, for example, that the psychoactive component of dagga was excreted slowly from the human body and could still be detected several days after having been consumed. The methods used to test employees for dagga usage could also create difficulties. While blood testing was seen as the best way to estimate impairment, collecting specimens of blood was very invasive and also required specialist staff.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Liam Ngobeni at Pretoria News

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