Total Articles: 32
XpertHR • September 12, 2018
A failed drug test should not have been a reason for refusing to hire a registered medical marijuana user, a federal court in Connecticut has ruled. In Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company, a nursing facility offered a job to an applicant who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but rescinded the offer after she tested positive for marijuana.
Fisher Phillips • May 09, 2018
All employers should review the yearly release of Quest Diagnostics’ Annual Drug Testing Index, which since 1988 has provided the nation’s most accurate information on employee drug use changes.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 16, 2018
A federal court in Massachusetts dismissed the age and gender discrimination claims of a long-term employee who was fired after he refused to take a “reasonable suspicion” drug test. Tombeno v. FedEx Corporate Services, Inc., CV. No. 16-cv-40008-TSH (D. Mass. Jan. 9, 2018).
Fisher Phillips • January 07, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a one-page memorandum yesterday rescinding Obama-era guidance that had allowed states to legalize medical and recreational marijuana with marginal federal interference, eliminating any doubt about his position against the trend towards legalization. The bad news is that the current state of the law regarding the legality of marijuana use remains confusing, to say the least: it is dependent on the state you are in, and while the legislatures and courts across the country continue to revisit and shape the laws at issue, marijuana continues to be classified as an illegal Schedule I drug pursuant to the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 17, 2017
A federal court in South Dakota granted a motion to strike and a motion to dismiss filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the laboratory that conducted drug tests for the Defendant employer, holding that the employer was not entitled to seek indemnification or contribution from the laboratory for damages based on a false positive drug test result. EEOC v. M.G. Oil Company, No. 4:16-4131-KES, (D.S.D. August 10, 2017).
Fisher Phillips • August 01, 2017
As many as 50,000 Americans may have died in 2016 as the result of an opioid-related overdose. This number continues to increase with no end in sight, as the use of prescription opioids to relieve pain has reached staggering levels. In 2012, more than 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, with the current number undoubtedly being much higher. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
With medical marijuana now legal in 29 states and recreational marijuana use permitted in eight states plus the District of Columbia, some employers are understandably concerned about this trend, especially with a recent Quest Diagnostics report showing drug use at its highest level in 12 years. But these legalization laws don’t mean your company drug testing program necessarily needs to go up in smoke.
A Rhode Island state court has found a company liable for refusing to hire a medical marijuana cardholder for a paid internship because she could not pass a preemployment drug test. The court held in Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics Corp. that the employer acted illegally even though the applicant admitted that she would test positive on the company's mandatory drug test.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • May 18, 2017
According to the annual Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index published yesterday, illicit drug use among U.S. employees continues to rise, resulting in the highest drug test positivity rates in the last 12 years. This nationwide survey of more than 10 million workforce drug test results revealed:
Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 11, 2017
A federal district court recently dismissed a lawsuit in which a job applicant challenged a public employer’s decision to withdraw an offer of employment after the individual tested positive for cocaine on a pre-employment drug test.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 21, 2017
The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas did not violate a public employee’s Fourth Amendment rights by requiring the employee to submit to a random drug test or by terminating his employment when he tested positive for cocaine, according to a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Washington v. Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas, 847 F.3d 1192 (10th Cir. 2017).
Ogletree Deakins • March 20, 2017
On March 14, 2017, the U.S. Senate approved House Joint Resolution 42, which earlier passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and blocks the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) regulation limiting states’ ability to drug test unemployment benefit applicants. Once the 2016 resolution is finalized, states will no longer be limited by the regulation’s narrow definition of which occupations regularly conduct drug testing. The president is expected to sign the resolution soon.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 24, 2017
Today the U.S. Department of Transportation published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register in which it proposes to amend its drug testing program regulation to add four synthetic opioids (hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and oxycodone) to its drug testing panel. DOT also proposes to add methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte, and remove methylenedioxyethylamphetamine, (MDEA) as a confirmatory test analyte.
Phelps Dunbar LLP • September 22, 2016
In recent years, the abuse of prescription opioid pain medication has become a widely reported national epidemic. The New England Journal of Medicine reports millions of Americans are addicted to prescription pain medications, and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record with the majority of deaths from opioids. The CDCP reports that 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Prescription opioid abuse also has been linked to the national increase in heroin addiction. Commonly prescribed opioid painkillers include hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (Kadian, Avinza) or medications containing codeine
XpertHR • September 22, 2016
The percentage of employees testing positive for illegal drug use has reached a 10-year high, according to an analysis by Quest Diagnostics of nearly 11 million workforce drug test results. According to this annual survey, positive drug tests for marijuana, amphetamines and heroin have increased every year for the past five years.
Ogletree Deakins • August 22, 2016
Following termination stemming from a positive drug test for marijuana, a Native American female, appearing pro se, filed a federal lawsuit against her former employer, Mohave County’s Public Works Department. She alleged discrimination based on race and/or ancestry, a violation of her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and a violation of due process rights. On July 19, 2016, Senior U.S. District Judge for the District of Arizona, James A. Teilborg, issued an order granting summary judgment for the defendant Mohave County on all claims. Yazzie v. County of Mohave, No. CV-14-08153 (July 19, 2016).
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 02, 2016
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently expanded the reach of the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act1 (“DATWA” or “the Act”) by ruling that the Act can apply to the employees of Minnesota-based employers working in other states whenever there are “significant contacts” between the state and the parties or the facts giving rise to the claim. In Olson v. Push, Inc.,2 the Eighth Circuit ruled that Minnesota’s drug testing rules applied to a Minnesota applicant for a West Virginia job because the employer did business in Minnesota, hired a Minnesota resident, and permitted a pre-employment drug test to be conducted in Minnesota. Because Minnesota’s DATWA imposes some of the most significant restrictions on workplace drug and alcohol testing in the country, the Push case requires prudent Minnesota employers to consider whether the Act applies to individuals employed in out-of-state positions and to adjust their testing protocols.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 06, 2016
With the beginning of a new year, it is time to make resolutions and review old, outdated workplace policies. Employers who conduct drug and alcohol testing should consider updating their drug and alcohol policies in 2016, particularly if they have not done so in several years. Here are the top 10 reasons why:
Jackson Lewis P.C. • December 29, 2015
Motor carriers subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration drug and alcohol testing requirements in 2016 will have to conduct significantly fewer random drug tests for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), including certain trucks and buses, and spend less money on that testing, the U.S. Department of Transportation agency said recently .
Jackson Lewis P.C. • December 23, 2015
On December 21, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it is reducing the minimal annual percentage rate for random drug testing for drivers subject to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) drug testing rules from the current rate of 50 percent of the average number of driver positions to 25 percent. This reduction is effective in calendar year 2016. The decrease does not prevent motor carriers from testing at a higher rate than 25 percent in 2016. The minimum annual percentage rate for random alcohol testing will remain at 10 percent.
XpertHR • December 14, 2015
A federal district court in the state of Washington has ruled that employers do not have to accommodate the use of medical marijuana if they have a drug-free workplace, even if the marijuana is being used off-site to treat an employee's disability. The ruling is notable because Washington has legalized marijuana not only for medicinal use but for recreational use as well.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • December 11, 2015
President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act on December 4, 2015, a law that funds improvements to the nation’s roads, bridges, transit systems, and rail transportation network for a period of five years.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 30, 2015
A federal court in Utah upheld the termination of an employee who did not disclose his use of prescription medication in accordance with his employer’s policy. Angel v. Lisbon Valley Mining Co., Case No. 2:14-CV-00733 (D. Utah Nov. 23, 2015).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 13, 2015
A federal court in Georgia rejected an employee’s claim that his termination after a positive drug test result for barbiturates was discriminatory. Roman v. Leggett and Platt, Inc., Case No. 3:14-CV-20 (M.D. Ga. Nov. 3, 2015).
Ogletree Deakins • September 28, 2015
On August 27, 2015, a three-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued Manhattan Beer Distributors, LLC and Joe Garcia Diaz, (29-CA-115694) finding that an employer had unlawfully denied an employee his right to the physical presence of a union representative during a reasonable suspicion drug test. This case has implications for all employers conducting drug tests in a unionized setting.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 24, 2015
Reasonable suspicion alcohol testing of a safety-sensitive employee who was injured in a bar fight and who took medical leave for “acute alcoholic pancreatitis” was upheld by a federal court in Indiana, even though the testing did not take place until the employee returned to work after his medical leave ended. Foos v. Taghleef Industries, Inc., 2:13-CV-00438 (S.D. Ind. Sept. 22, 2015).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 03, 2015
It has long been recognized that federal regulations mandating drug testing for certain employees in safety-sensitive industries preempt contrary provisions in Minnesota’s state drug testing law known as “DATWA” (Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act). But some Minnesota practitioners have argued for years that employee protections in DATWA should not be preempted if they are not explicitly in conflict with federal law. A recent order from the District of Minnesota has likely put an end to this line of reasoning. MN Airlines, Inc., d/b/a Sun Country Airlines v. Levander, No 15-CV-2454 (PAM/BRT) (D. Minn. Aug. 28, 2015).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 12, 2015
The Minnesota Court of Appeals handed employers a rare win under the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act (“DATWA”), upholding dismissal of a wrongful discharge case after an employee who tested positive for drugs did not comply with the recommended treatment because he wanted to choose a different treatment program. Jones v. Green Bay Packaging, Inc., No. A15-0017 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 10, 2015).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • July 31, 2015
A Texas oil refinery whose substance abuse policy said an employee “whose drug test is positive, regardless of the reasons for the test,” would be considered in violation of company policy and “will be terminated from employment” meant what it said, a labor arbitrator has concluded. The policy, along with an agreement requiring that an employee seeking assistance for a claimed drug problem abstain from drug use, justified the discharge of an employee who tested positive for marijuana on a return-to-duty drug test, even though the cutoff levels for positive results were low. Valero Services, Inc. and United Steelworkers Int’l LLC, 134 LA (Bloomberg/BNA) 1704 (FMCS Case No. 14/500024, May 4, 2015) (Scheiber, B., Arb.).
Fisher Phillips • December 02, 2014
Many U.S.-based employers perform pre-employment, post-accident, or random drug testing. With some exceptions, they are generally permitted wide latitude in deciding when to conduct such tests. But the U.S. attitude toward drug testing does not necessarily translate to other countries, where there may be different attitudes toward employee privacy in particular. U.S.-based employers can run into trouble when attempting to impose those same testing requirements on a foreign division or subsidiary.
Fisher Phillips • February 19, 2014
Many U.S.-based employers perform pre-employment, post-accident, or random drug testing, and with some exceptions, are generally permitted wide latitude in deciding when to conduct such tests. The U.S. attitude toward drug testing does not necessarily translate to other countries, however, where there may be different attitudes toward employee privacy, in particular. U.S.-based employers can run into trouble when attempting to impose those same testing requirements on a foreign division or subsidiary.
Brody and Associates, LLC • July 23, 2012
Most firms find drug testing programs to be a worthwhile investment.