Imraan Mahomed, Director of Employment Law practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH)
The lines can get hazy when it comes to the legalisation of cannabis for private use and how this relates to the workplace and this was so since the Constitutional Court opened the way to the possession of cannabis for personal use several years ago. But a recent labour court case has now found that employers remain empowered to set workplace policies regulating substance abuse, including the use of cannabis which CDH believes is important because it provides clarity on the use of cannabis and its effect in the workplace.
Imraan Mahomed, Director of Employment Law practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) says, “This position was recently confirmed in the 27 June 2023 Labour Court judgment of Marasi v Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (C219/2020)  ZALCCT 34.”
In this case, an employee was employed by PetroSA as a teleco technician.
In April 2019, he informed PetroSA of his intention to embark on a traditional healer training programme, which entailed him being transferred from the Cape Town branch to the Mossel Bay refinery.
Prior to his transfer, he underwent a medical assessment, in which he disclosed his use of cannabis pursuant to his traditional healer training and subsequently tested positive for cannabis use in a drug screening.
It was found that the levels of cannabis in his blood exceeded the permissible threshold in terms of PetroSA’s drug and alcohol policy.
In terms of the cannabis policy, the employee was denied access to the refinery as he was deemed unfit for duty and would only be permitted to return when he tested below the threshold.
Read the full case in the Employment Law Alert 10 July 2023 below: