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Planning for a Great 2018

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Ready or not, 2018 will arrive in little more than two-weeks' time. I've often told my students that their life will happen, but it is up to each of them to decide if their life will happen by design or by default. Coming up on a new year is always a good time to step back and work on setting goals and objectives for the coming year.

Among the many competing projects and priorities for business managers, executives, and owners are updating human resources policies and documents to reflect the current legal environment. Often neglected items include employee handbooks. For employers in the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, there are new city ordinances requiring employers to provide safe and sick leave.  Additionally, it is difficult to avoid the news of high-profile men being accused of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment. Sexual Harassment Training for all staff members in general and managers, in particular, would seem to be a necessary precaution for businesses of all sizes.

Of particular importance is the fact that the legislature has authorized the expansion of the State's Medical Cannabis Program. Effective August 1, 2018, autism and obstructive sleep apnea will join the list as qualifying medical conditions. As the list of qualifying conditions expands, so do the chances that a business may be required to address a situation in which one of its employees participates in the medical cannabis program. Such a situation may have profound consequences. A proactive approach would include reviewing a business' drug and alcohol policy and discussing with the management team how to address the situation if and when it arises. The discussion is complicated by the fact that cannabis is illegal under federal law, yet various state laws allow for the medicinal use of cannabis. A related issue to be discussed is how to handle the situation in which an employee vacationing in a state in which the recreational use of marijuana (cannabis) is legal uses the drug. Marijuana is known to remain in the human body for a significant amount of time. According to the National Drug Court Institute in its published Drug Court Practitioner Fact Sheet: The Marijuana Detection Window: Determining the Length of Time Cannabinoids will Remain Detectable in Urine Following Smoking, "at the 20 ng/ml cutoff for cannabinoids, positive drug test results for the single event marijuana use would not be expected to be longer than 7 days."  However, using the same detection level, "it would be uncommon for a chronic marijuana smoker to produce a positive urine drug test result longer than 21 days after the last smoking episode." Thus, we see the detection window for urine drug tests for marijuana to be roughly from 7 to 21 days after the last smoking incident, depending on how frequently the subject smokes marijuana. The Fact Sheet contained data for marijuana consumed by smoking only; no data was included nor conclusions drawn regarding other means of consuming the marijuana (edible, etc.).

We're here to help. We offer several services to assist businesses in proactively addressing these and other human resources challenges. Typically, when we update employee handbooks, we do so on a project basis. That is, we charge a flat fee for the project so that business managers know in advance what the total cost will be. We are also available to review existing leave policies to determine what changes, if any, will be needed to comply with the new city ordinances. We also provide employee training on key human resources topics such as sexual harassment, ethics, discrimination, and conflict resolution.

Please contact our office if you'd like more information.