We would all be excused for wanting 2020 to disappear in a fog of medical marijuana. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of a very busy year for Ogletree Deakins Drug Testing Practice Group.
Articles Discussing Drugs & Alcohol In The Workplace.
On November 3, 2020, five states had initiatives on the ballot to legalize the recreational and/or medical use of marijuana, and all five initiatives easily passed. Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey voted in favor of legalizing the possession and recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 years and older.
Voters in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota approved laws to legalize marijuana on Election Day 2020. Recreational marijuana was approved in Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey, while Mississippi voters approved medical marijuana. South Dakota voters approved both medical and recreational marijuana ballot initiatives.
A strong odor of marijuana was sufficient to constitute reasonable suspicion to test, and a positive drug test result constituted just cause for a ten-day suspension, an arbitrator ruled in denying an employee’s grievance. ZF Active and Passive Safety and UAW, Local 1181, 20-2 ARB ¶ 7646 (Mar. 17, 2020).
In the past several years, marijuana legalization has become an increasingly difficult issue for employers to navigate. Marijuana legalization raises challenging workplace questions related to drug testing, disability accommodation, workplace safety, hiring, and employment termination, among other issues. Because of the fast-evolving nature of marijuana laws, and the wide variance
According to a new Quest Diagnostics study, employers saw the highest rate of positive workforce drug test results since 2003. As expected, marijuana was the most detected drug, including in states where marijuana remains illegal. The study reported a surge in positive results in the Midwest for cocaine, methamphetamine and
The state-sanctioned use of marijuana continues to progress, with 33 states authorizing it for medical purposes and 11 states extending those protections to recreational use.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued two technical assistance documents on August 5, 2020, addressing accommodation issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for employees who use opioid medications or may be addicted to opioids.
A federal court in Alabama held that an employer’s request to count an employee’s prescription medication – in connection with a drug test that the employee passed – supported the employee’s claim for invasion of privacy. Effinger v. Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, Case no. 2:19-cv-00766-KOB (N.D. Al. Jan. 23, 2020).
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration published its 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment on January 30, 2020. The DEA’s annual report is a comprehensive strategic assessment of the threat posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of drugs. It compiles data from many sources, including drug seizures, laboratory analyses, information on the involvement of organized criminal groups, and survey data provided to DEA by state and local law enforcement agencies across the country.
For many years, employers in the Carolinas have prohibited drugs in the workplace and tested applicants and employees for illegal substances, such as marijuana. Recently, Congress and many states have enacted new laws regarding marijuana, covering everything from cultivation to consumption, for both medical and recreational reasons. Many states have legalized marijuana, while others have taken a more conservative approach and allowed the use of cannabidiol (CBD) products derived from industrial hemp. Employers in the Carolinas must consider how the recent changes in the law will impact them and recognize that more changes are likely—including the possibility that medical marijuana may soon become legal. To learn more about marijuana in the workplace, read this this article in S.C. Lawyer magazine.
2020 is on the horizon, and employers must be ready to comply with many new developments in the world of workplace drug and alcohol testing. Here is a summary of significant laws that will take effect in 2020 (and some that have already taken effect):
Caroline J. Berdzik, partner and chair of the firm’s Employment and Labor and Health Care practice groups, was featured in a Q&A with The National Law Review giving insight and ideas on how employers should proceed when an employee demonstrates an indication of substance abuse.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) published scientific and technical guidelines for oral fluid drug testing in federal workplace drug testing programs in the Federal Register on October 25, 2019. The Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs Using Oral Fluid (OFMG) allows federal executive branch agencies to collect and test oral fluid specimens, and establishes standards and technical requirements for oral fluid collection devices, including initial and confirmatory oral fluid drug test cut-off concentrations and methods, among other things. The Guidelines will take effect on January 1, 2020.
The National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities through leadership, research, education and advocacy, published a Position/Policy Statement on October 21, 2019 addressing cannabis (marijuana) impairment in safety-sensitive positions.