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Workforce drug testing positivity climbed to highest rate in 16 years

8/25/20--New Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ Analysis finds that marijuana positivity climbed by double digits across nearly all employee testing categories, while opiate and heroin positivity decline. Additionally, analysis of more than nine million workplace drug test results showed cocaine and methamphetamine positivity surges in Midwest. Read

Rhode Island Court upholds “reasonable grounds” drug testing even where there is another possible explanation for employee’s behaviors

6/1/20--The Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit against an employer who terminated an employee for refusing to submit to a reasonable suspicion drug test, even though the employee’s odd behaviors could have been attributable to pain or other things. Colpitts v. W.B. Mason Co., Inc., No. 2018-337-Appeal (R.I. May 29, 2020). Read

Appeals Court rules that New Jersey company must cover employee’s medical cannabis costs

1/17/20--An appeals court in New Jersey has ruled that an employer must reimburse a former employee for the cost of medical cannabis in a move that could have far-reaching effects for the industry. Steve Schain, senior attorney at Hoban Law Group, views the New Jersey ruling as a monumental moment for the medical cannabis industry and its patients for other reasons, too; namely, that it may encourage private insurance companies—and perhaps even government insurance—to also cover medical cannabis. Read

Using marijuana is legal — but it can still get you fired. ‘Human resource professionals in Illinois will have their hands full.’

1/10/20--In Illinois, employers are allowed to fire workers who bring cannabis to the office and show up impaired or fail random drug tests, according to the state’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana use. Companies also are able to reject job applicants who don’t pass drug screens. However, employers that take action against their workers still could face legal questions, leaving Illinois employers in somewhat of a quandary about what they can and should be doing in terms of drug testing and a positive marijuana result. Read

Marijuana is legal now, but Southeast Michigan employers aren’t relaxing drug screening policies

5/12/19--Drug test failures for marijuana use have risen nationally, but failures are more pronounced in the states that have legalized recreational use of the drug. Yet, despite increased drug test failure rates, there are companies that don't plan to create different policies for their safety-related, federally mandated workforce, and their white collar office workers not covered by federal rules. Read

New York City lawmakers ban pre-employment drug testing for marijuana

5/13/19--Many employers in New York City will no longer be able to test job applicants for marijuana or THC—the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis—under a rule that was just adopted in the city. The new mandate will take effect in 2020. Read

NASA to launch safety review of SpaceX and Boeing after video of Elon Musk smoking pot rankled agency leaders

11/20/18--NASA has ordered a safety review of Boeing and SpaceX, the two companies it has hired to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. A months-long assessment would involve hundreds of interviews designed to assess the culture of the workplaces. The review was prompted by the recent behavior of SpaceX’s founder, Elon Musk after he took a hit of marijuana and sipped whiskey on a podcast streamed on the Internet. Read

Oklahoma businesses need clarity on marijuana

10/7/18--Since Oklahomans voted in June to legalize medical marijuana, business officials have urged legislators to provide regulatory certainty by giving legal protection in the drug testing of employees. They warn failure to do so will only increase liability issues caused by workers' on-the-job impairment. The need for lawmakers to address this issue is even more pressing after a recent federal court ruling. Read

Colorado widow battling late husband’s insurance company over marijuana

7/26/18--A Colorado widow is battling her late husband's insurance company because it decided to cut his worker compensation over marijuana. Adam Lee died in December while working at a Colorado ski mountain. The insurance company reduced his worker compensation when it learned he had pot in his system at the time of his death. Colorado is one of nine states and the District of Columbia that allows recreational marijuana use. Read

Changing marijuana laws and the opioid crisis are prompting employer action

3/13/18--While CEOs still tend to opt for termination over rehabilitation for drug use, the reality is that employers may not be able to afford to do so while recruitment and retention remain a key HR concern. If an HR manager hasn’t dealt with a drug issue at their workplace yet, its likely they will very soon. HR will need to align with employee assistance programs (EAPs) and with workers’ comp providers to lessen the use of opioids and get provider buy-in for the anti-opioid direction. Read

Attorney discusses medical marijuana in workplace

11/4/17--J. Bruce Cross of Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C. gave a presentation on how the Arkansas medical marijuana laws affect businesses and how employers can be compliant. As a labor lawyer, Cross saw medical marijuana in the workplace as something that needed to be addressed. Read

Business groups urge government to consider workplace safety in marijuana rules

11/4/17--New rules for legalized marijuana need to consider the impact on workplaces and clarify the rights of both employers and employees, say some business groups. Ottawa has set July 1 as the deadline for regulations to be in place and many provinces and territories are still working to craft legislation, including British Columbia, where a public consultation on legal pot wrapped up this week. Read

Cambria County approves medical marijuana policy for employees

10/26/17--Cambria County commissioners unanimously approved the policy for the county and its employees to comply with and abide by Pennsylvania's law concerning medical marijuana use – with county leaders pledging not to discharge, threaten, refuse to hire, or discriminate against those certified to use the drug. According to the policy, it will be a county employee's responsibility to notify the human resources department about his or her certification to use medical marijuana. Read

Some employers banning Arkansas employees from using medical marijuana

9/14/17--The Clinton Airport will not allow its 170 employees to use medical marijuana. As a result of a bill passed earlier this year, workers in “safety sensitive positions” may not be able to use the drug, even if they have a qualifying condition if their employer believes their job can’t be performed safely while under the influence. At an airport, getting from one destination to another safely is the goal. That’s why the airport will continue drug tests for its employees. Read

Maine judges hear landmark case for pot reimbursements under workers’ comp

9/14/17--In a landmark workers’ compensation case, Gaetan Bourgoin, a 58-year-old paper mill worker who hurt his back in a 1989 work accident, has forced the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to consider whether an employer in Maine, where medical marijuana is legal, must reimburse an injured worker for a drug that remains illegal under federal law, especially when prescription painkillers had failed him miserably. Read

Many Americans are too drugged-out to work

7/30/17--A slew of reports finds a fresh reason for the chronic inability of American companies to fill skilled jobs: not a lack of skills, and hence a training-and-education crisis, but a surfeit of drug abuse, per the NYT's Nelson Schwartz. Simply put, prime-working age Americans without a college diploma are often too drugged-out to get the best jobs. Opioids remain at high levels, but the surge in drug use is now heroin and the powerful contaminant fentanyl. Read

Economy needs workers, but drug tests take a toll

7/24/17--The economic impact of drug use on the work force is being felt across the country. The effect is seen not just in the applicants eliminated based on drug screening, but in those deterred from even applying. The biggest employers face similar challenges in their search for suitable hires, especially with the national unemployment rate now at 4.4 percent, down from 8.2 percent five years ago. Read

Rules for medical marijuana use among city, county employees unclear

6/28/17--Although Gov. Rick Scott signed medical marijuana into law, cities and counties in Florida have not drafted policies for employees with medical marijuana prescriptions. Decisions will have to be made about what this law means for employees on and off the job. Read

Can I get fired for using legal recreational marijuana?

5/27/17--Employers may still enforce drug-free workplace rules for cannabis even with marijuana legalization in California. Companies can still drug test employees for marijuana and fire or refuse to offer employment if test results are positive. The Sacramento Bee presents FAQ for people curious about using marijuana but worried about what it could mean for their jobs. Read

Companies need workers — but people keep getting high

5/17/17--Job applicants are testing positive for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, and heroin at the highest rate in 12 years, according to a new report from Quest Diagnostics. An analysis of about 10 million workplace drug screens from across the country in 2016 found positive results from urine samples increased from 4 percent in 2015 to 4.2 percent in 2016. The most significant increase was in positive tests for marijuana, which reached 2 percent last year, compared with 1.6 percent in 2012. Read

Former Mountie teaching safe workplace marijuana use

3/20/17--Ed Secondiak, president of the occupational health company ECS Safety Services, wants employers to be informed about medicinal marijuana, as well as the implications of recreational legalization, so they can respond appropriately in the workplace. Secondiak's goal isn't to punish people, but to be proactive to avoid unintended consequences of marijuana use, like workplace accidents. Read

Men of accused of smoking marijuana while working at ARC of Rensselaer

1/24/17--Ryan Riddell and Gary Vartanian, who worked at a home for people with developmental disabilities, are accused of smoking marijuana on the job. Police say they were at the ARC of Rensselaer when officers noticed a smell of marijuana in the building. Riddell is facing a felony drug charge, and Vartanian was charged with a violation for marijuana possession. Read

Medical marijuana a gray area for employers

1/13/17--There is a real gray area that many employers are concerned about in Florida regarding the legal use of medical marijuana, but employment attorneys are warning employers not to over-react. If legislators add marijuana to the list of drugs to accommodate a disability, then firing someone for medical marijuana won't be an option. Read

Orange County workers get medical marijuana warning

1/3/17--Orange County is telling its employees: forget Florida’s new medical marijuana law. If we find out you’ve used any kind of marijuana, you’re fired. The county sent a memo to its workers stating "the use of marijuana in any form continues to be prohibited by federal law and county policy." Read

Marijuana is legal in California, but it can still keep you from getting a job

12/9/16--Recreational use of marijuana is now legal in California, but the new law states that employers still have the right to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace and can keep policies that prohibit the use of cannabis by employees and prospective workers. Employment lawyers say most companies they’ve spoken with plan to maintain their current drug screening procedures, which prohibit cannabis. Read

Five things for employees to know in states with marijuana laws

12/1/16--Many employers seem to be sticking with their drug testing and personal conduct policies, even in states where recreational marijuana use is now permitted. Others are keeping a close eye on the still evolving legal, regulatory, and political environment. The Cannabist takes a closer look at what it all means for workers and businesses, and addresses the following five questions: (1) Can my employer still test me for pot? (2) What about workplace safety? (3) Can I get fired even if I'm not high? (4) What should companies? (5) What do the courts say? Read

Where marijuana is the doctor’s orders, will insurers pay?

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-9-00-55-am11/23/16--For businesses and insurers, a string of ballot victories this month for marijuana advocates are adding to an intensifying conundrum about the drug and issues such as insurance coverage. Typically, health insurers will pay for marijuana-related drugs only for F.D.A.-approved uses, but state medical marijuana laws usually give doctors permission to recommend marijuana to a patient with a “debilitating” condition. Read

Weed is coming to your office – and that’s okay

11/5/16--Companies may be challenged handling their employees’ marijuana usage and determining whether or not it has a negative impact on their work. Even when employees acknowledge they are using marijuana, there the medical community remains conflicted over what constitutes impairment by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), link the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The greatest concern for employers revolves around workplace safety. However, ampoule in the work force at large, that constitutes a fraction of jobs. Read

Medical marijuana will be HR issue, experts warn

10/13/16--Panelists participating in a forum sponsored by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce urged Pennsylvania businesses to prepare for medical marijuana because they're going to have to deal with a range of complications once their employees start using it. Some of the panelists agreed that businesses should update their workplace policies and job descriptions and set clear ground rules to minimize conflict and controversy. Read

Medical marijuana doesn’t trump zero tolerance at work

8/26/16--Regardless of what state law says, viagra marijuana is illegal on the federal level and employers will retain the right to establish and enforce drug testing and substance abuse policies, including pre-employment and random drug testing. Read

Ruling on marijuana-using worker up in smoke

8/22/16--The state Supreme Court ruled that Gregory Linhoff, cialis a Connecticut state worker fired after he was caught smoking marijuana on the job, recipe was punished too harshly and should get his job back. Read

Judge rules against employee fired for marijuana use

8/21/16--Melanie Breech was fired from her job at after she failed a marijuana drug test. Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes rejected Breech's argument that she would have had a medical marijuana card in Delaware at the time of her drug test had the state's process moved faster. Read