It seems that now, in Uruguay, going to work stoned will not automatically be a problem. At least this is what 20 annoyed companies think after a deep reading of Mujica’s new regulation. According to several businessmen, the controversial law, recently approved by the President of Uruguay, comes with a long list of consequences. Among them, the impossibility of punishing the workers if they go to work under the influence of marijuana or if they smoke cannabis during their workday.
To know the reason why they are complaining, one only has to pay attention to article 42 of the Decree 120/2014, (text in Spanish), which provides for the realization of “random and non-invasive controls” in companies and which expressly prohibits “smoking, consuming or ingesting cannabis or cannabis-based products during the working day”. So far, so good.
The problem, and therefore the debate, comes because the regulation does not allow any action against employees who go to work displaying symptoms of having already consumed cannabis. So, one may not smoke a joint at work, but if one has smoked it at home, on the corner or at the bar, the employers have no official means of reproach.
Mujica on the side of the employees
Some employers are completely bewildered. They wonder how the President can tolerate something like this. The answer is easier than it seems: the Decree prohibits companies from imposing disciplinary sanctions on the worker “if he has not incurred the commission of any fault or any other punishable behaviour (…) in relation to his employment contract obligations (…), even if his behaviour is motivated (…), by cannabis use”. In summary, if cannabis smoking does not affect the work performed and does not interfere with the worker fulfilling their responsibilities, why would the boss punish that worker?