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Kathryn J. Russo is a Principal in the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She is a firm resource on the legal issues implicated in workplace drug and alcohol testing arising under federal, state and local laws.

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.

Medical Marijuana

  1. Mississippi – Mississippi Ballot Measure 1 passed,

A federal court in Indiana dismissed an employee’s claim that his employer did not have the right to request a medical examination after he tested positive for drugs and subsequently admitted that he was taking numerous prescription medications that could create a safety risk.  Beal v. Muncie Sanitary District, Case No. 1:19-cv-01506 (S.D. Ind.

A federal court in Rhode Island allowed a former employee to proceed with her lawsuit alleging that the employer violated state law when it terminated her employment after a positive breath alcohol test. Stafford v. CSL Plasma, Inc., Case No. 1:19-cv-00270 (D.R.I. September 14, 2020).

Stafford worked for CSL Plasma for about a year as

A federal court in Tennessee dismissed an employee’s lawsuit in which she claimed that her employer should have changed its drug policy to allow CBD use. Hamric v. City of Murfreesboro, Case No. 3:18-cv-01239 (September 10, 2020).

The City of Murfreesboro hired Hamric as a Cultural Arts Program Specialist in August of 2015. Her job

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), proposed scientific and technical guidelines for hair drug testing in federal workplace drug testing programs in the Federal Register on September 10, 2020. The proposed Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs Using Hair (HMG) will allow

The Supreme Court of Ohio held that an at-will employee has no cause of action for common law invasion of privacy after the employer required the employee to submit to a directly-observed urine collection drug test.  Lunsford v. Sterilite of Ohio, LLC, slip op. No. 2020-Ohio-4193 (August 26, 2020).

Sterilite is a private employer with

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. They provide employers insight into how the EEOC envisions information exchange and accommodation efforts.

Use and Misuse

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a Notice of Enforcement Discretion Determination on July 6, 2020 concerning random drug and alcohol testing during calendar year 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, FMCSA stated that it recognizes that covered motor carriers may not be able to comply with certain testing requirements

Louisiana’s governor signed into law on June 11, 2020 a measure amending the state’s medical marijuana law to make it easier for patients to obtain medical marijuana. The current version of Louisiana’s medical marijuana law permits use of medical marijuana to treat only certain specified illnesses. The new law provides that any licensed physician in

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) announced on June 5, 2020 an extension of the waiver period that is available when a commercial motor vehicle driver has been out of the random testing pool for 30 days or more and then returns to work. Ordinarily, an absence of 30 days