Archives: Litigation and Other Proceedings

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Suspension of Employee Based on Marijuana Odor and Positive Test Result Did Not Violate CBA

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). The union and the employer, … Continue Reading

Federal Court Holds Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act Provides Private Right of Action

A Pennsylvania federal court refused to dismiss an employee’s claim for violation of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act (MMA), reasoning that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is likely to recognize a private cause of action under the MMA.  Hudnell v. Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc., Civil Action No. 20-01621 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 25, 2020). The court’s analysis … Continue Reading

Rhode Island Employee May Proceed With Lawsuit Alleging That Termination For Failed Breath Test Violated State Law

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 … Continue Reading

Employee’s Request To Revise Drug Policy To Address CBD Use Was Not A Reasonable Accommodation

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 … Continue Reading

Directly-Observed Urine Collections Do Not Constitute Invasion of Privacy Where Employees Consented to Drug Testing

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 … Continue Reading

Rhode Island Court Upholds “Reasonable Grounds” Drug Testing Even Where There Is Another Possible Explanation For Employee’s Behaviors

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). … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Court Allows Unemployment Benefits For CBD User

A Pennsylvania court affirmed an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review holding a claimant to be eligible for unemployment benefits after her employer terminated her employment for testing positive for marijuana. Washington Health System v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. 886 C.D. 2019 (May 11, 2020). The Claimant was employed as a … Continue Reading

New Jersey Medical Marijuana User May Proceed With Discrimination Claim

The New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed an appellate court ruling allowing a medical marijuana user to proceed with his disability discrimination claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”).  Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., No. 082836 (Mar. 10, 2020). The plaintiff, a cancer patient and lawful user of medical marijuana, was involved in … Continue Reading

Employer’s Request to Count Employee’s Prescription Medication Sufficient to Support Invasion of Privacy Claim

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 plaintiff was a former … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Court Holds Employees May Sue Under Medical Marijuana Act

A Pennsylvania state court held that the state’s Medical Marijuana Act creates a private right of action for medical marijuana users to sue their employers. Pamela Palmiter v. Commonwealth Health Systems, Inc., Civ. Action No. 19 CV 1315 (Pa. Ct. C.P. Lackawanna County, Nov. 22, 2019). The employee, Pamela Palmiter, was employed as a medical … Continue Reading

New Jersey Court Orders Employer to Reimburse Worker for Medical Marijuana Expenses in Workers’ Compensation Case

In a case of first impression, the New Jersey Appellate Division held that it was appropriate for a workers’ compensation judge to order an employer to reimburse its employee for his medical marijuana expenses as part of his workers’ compensation case. Vincent Hager v. M&K Construction, Docket No. A-0102-18T3 (N.J. App. Div. January 13, 2020). … Continue Reading

Iowa Drug Testing Statute Provides Exclusive Remedy For Violations; Separate Wrongful Discharge Claim Is Barred

Addressing a matter of first impression, the Iowa Supreme Court determined that “when a civil cause of action is provided by the legislature in the same statute that creates the public policy to be enforced, the civil cause of action is the exclusive remedy for violation of that statute.” Ferguson v. Exide Technologies, Inc., et … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Public Policy Did Not Bar Termination of Nuclear Power Plant Employee Who Tested Positive For Alcohol

A federal district court in Pennsylvania held that public policy did not bar termination of a nuclear power plant employee who tested positive for alcohol. Bennett v. Talen Energy Corp. et al., No. 3:19cv521 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 11, 2019). Plaintiff worked at a nuclear power plant as a production foreman. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“NRC”) … Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Holds Test For Illegal Drugs Is Not An Impermissible Medical Examination, Even If Test May Reveal Lawful Drug Use

A federal appeals court upheld the termination of an employee who tested positive for amphetamines on a random drug test – despite his claim that the result was due to over-the-counter drug use – and rejected his arguments that the random drug test was an impermissible medical examination and that the Medical Review Officer’s questions … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses ADA Claims Alleging “Excessive” Drug and Alcohol Testing

A federal court in New York dismissed a disability discrimination claim asserted under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) based on allegedly “excessive” drug and alcohol testing of employees after they failed drug or alcohol tests required under the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s regulations. Vuono, et al. v. Consolidated Edison of New York, Inc., … Continue Reading

Drug Testing Laboratories May Be Sued For Negligence In South Carolina

The South Carolina Supreme Court held that laboratories who perform workplace drug tests on behalf of employers owe a duty of care to the individuals who are tested and may be sued for negligence for failing to properly and accurately perform the drug tests and report the results. Shaw v. Psychemedics Corp., App. Case No. … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court Holds Employer Not Completely Immune Under Social Host Statute

Oregon’s highest court has held that although the state’s “social host” law protects certain persons from liability related to their actions taken as “hosts,” there is no similar insulation from liability for alleged tortious conduct committed while acting in another role, such as employer.  Schutz v. La Costita III, Inc., 364 Or. 536 (March 14, … Continue Reading

New Jersey Law Does Not Require Employers To Accommodate Medical Marijuana Users By Waiving Drug Tests

A federal court in New Jersey has held that neither the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (“NJCUMMA”) nor the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) compels an employer to waive its requirements for employees to pass drug tests, even when those drug tests include testing for marijuana. Cotto v. Ardagh Glass Packing, CV-18-1037 … Continue Reading

Iowa Drug Testing Law Amended; Lawsuits on the Rise

Although Iowa’s drug testing statute was enacted more than 30 years ago, it is still considered one of the most difficult laws in the country for purposes of employer compliance. The 10-page law includes provisions addressing permissible types of tests, written notice requirements, rehabilitation for positive alcohol test results, split-specimen testing, and mandatory supervisor training, … Continue Reading

Employee’s Refusal to Take Drug Test Could Not Support Age and Gender Discrimination Claims

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). Tombeno worked for FedEx for 22 years as a Business Development Sales … Continue Reading

Federal Court Dismisses Employer’s Claims For Indemnification and Contribution Against Drug Testing Vendor After False Positive Drug Test Result

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 … Continue Reading

Federal Law Does Not Preempt Connecticut Medical Marijuana Law Employment Discrimination Prohibition

Federal law does not preempt the Connecticut medical marijuana statute’s prohibition on employers’ firing or refusing to hire qualified medical marijuana patients, even if they test positive on an employment-related drug test, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut has held. Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, d/b/a Bride Brook Health & … Continue Reading

Claim of Massachusetts Employee Fired for Medical Marijuana Use May Proceed, State High Court Rules

An employee fired after she tested positive for marijuana on a test administered in the hiring process should be able to proceed with her “handicap discrimination” claim under Massachusetts’ anti-discrimination statute, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled. Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing, LLC, SJC -12226 (July 17, 2017). The Court’s ruling partially overturned … Continue Reading

Casino Employee’s ADA Claims Dismissed Due to Current Drug Use

A federal court in Nevada dismissed a casino employee’s American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) claims — even though he had been treated for substance abuse in the past — because he admitted to current drug use which is not protected under the ADA. Scott v. Harrah’s LLC, No. 2:17-cv-01066-APG-VCF (D. Nev. May 9, 2017). Donald … Continue Reading
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