Geneva updates employee manual to reflect cannabis law

Updated 1/10/2020 2:48 PM

Geneva officials have updated their personnel policy manual for city workers to reflect the new Illinois law allowing the use of recreational cannabis, which went into effect Jan. 1.

The city council unanimously approved changes to parts of the manual affected by the new law to ensure "the city remains a safe and drug-free work environment," according to the council packet.


"Geneva places a high priority on the safety of its employees and the residents it serves," Communications Coordinator Kevin Stahr said. "Changes regarding the legalization of cannabis necessitated an update to the policy to ensure the city continues to meet that commitment."

In December, Mayor Kevin Burns cast the deciding vote to break a 5-5 tie and allow recreational cannabis facilities in Geneva.

Changes to the manual include the addition of cannabis to any policy issues that previously mentioned alcohol.

Along with other prohibited actions such as fighting, horseplay and refusing to cooperate with a city investigation listed under "employee conduct," the manual will include, "Selling, distributing, using, consuming, being in possession of, or being under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, unprescribed drugs, illegally prescribed drugs, or illegal drugs while on city premises, while conducting city business, while operating city equipment, or while in the performance of any other assigned duties."

Since the federal government still considers cannabis a prohibited drug, Geneva employees are subject to drug testing under the "reasonable suspicion, post-accident or safety sensitive employee" policies, according to the packet.

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Some new additions to this section, such as "carelessness in operating equipment" and "actions that result in any injury" refer to alcohol, in addition to cannabis.

"From time-to-time, staff recommends changes based on best practices, trends and changes in regulation," Stahr said. "Staff uses these opportunities to identify areas where language may need to be updated to ensure clarity and consistency."

An addition to the manual states no employee "shall be reimbursed for the purchase of cannabis or cannabis products." The city previous had this policy relating only to alcoholic beverages.

Geneva's personnel policy manual is a "living document," Stahr said.

"The city's Administrative Services and Human Resource staff will continue to monitor legislative and regulatory changes, and recommend updates as necessary," he said. "Staff must remain attune to legislative and regulatory changes to ensure our policy remains current."

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