Are Zero Tolerance Drug Testing Policies About to Go Up in Smoke?

As part of a new decision in Massachusetts, a qualifying patient who has been terminated from employment for testing positive for marijuana as a result of her lawful medical marijuana use may state a claim of disability discrimination. A similar decision was made in Rhode Island. The holding has significant implications for employers that drug test because 29 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana use. In one Massachusetts case, the plaintiff received an offer of employment if she passed a mandatory drug test. She disclosed information about her qualifying medical marijuana prescription, yet she was terminated at the end of the day for positive test results. The claim survived a motion to dismiss, which could indicate a trend by courts.

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