Town Hall Synopsis 2.23.2021
In the Town Hall webinar on February 23, MEA discussed several topics including recreational marijuana policies, COVID-19 updates, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) standards and policies.
Recreational Marijuana Use in New Jersey
Now that a recreational marijuana law has become legal in New Jersey, we expect dispensaries to pop up and more recreational marijuana use to enter the workforce landscape. To be clear, marijuana use is still a federal offense even though its use is legalized in several states.
Now is the time to review policies in your company- depending on safety sensitive workforce situations and the fact that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, lingers in the body for up to several weeks, this may affect whether you choose to complete pre-employment testing.
Some companies only require reasonable suspicion testing for employees- which should also come with management and employee training based on expectations and what would warrant a reasonable suspicion test.
Many insurance companies require you to review your post-accident testing policy, to guarantee your liability protection in a situation where an employee is impaired during an accident. This is the time to have the conversation with your insurance company about updating your policy.
According to a Pew Research Study, 20% of workers worked from home full time or mostly full time. More than 71% of employees are currently working from home during the pandemic, and an overwhelming 54% of employees would like to continue to work from home even when businesses return to in-person work.
Currently, many parents reported struggling to work from home without distractions, and 42% of respondents between the ages of 18-49 say that it’s difficult to feel motivated working from home.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policies & Updates (DEI)
Some companies report that some valuable lessons have been learned during pandemic- times hiring. Many companies are reporting “casting a wider net”, to applicants that may have not been previously been considered. Utilizing remote interviews, phone interviews, and the like, applicants even from outside the geographical employment area are being considered and hired.
This has led to increasing representation of women and racial minorities in executive leadership roles, thus expanding the DEI aspects in the workplace.
As a reminder, it is important for your company to adhere to the EEOC guidelines regarding protection of rights such as sexual orientation, gender identity and transgender status.
DEI drives key components of company culture, such as respect and communication. It provides an opportunity for your company culture to shine as it showcases values around respect, understanding, creativity, collaboration and teamwork- all DEI values.
DEI also aids skill building in the workplace:
• Handling difficult conversations
• Respectful communications
• Increasing cultural awareness
• Increases emotional intelligence- which is tied to earning potential!
Overall, DEI is responsible for incorporating more diversity of thought in the workplace and starting those discussions now is a great way to be ahead of the curve.