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Thursday
Apr152010

You're Busted!


Marijuana use by employees has created many problems for Oregon employers. When Oregon adopted a medical marijuana law, it created much uncertainty for businesses. The Oregon Supreme Court ended this uncertainty with an opinion issued earlier today. It is good news for employers.

The court today made clear that you do not need to accommodate medical marijuana use. You can have a zero tolerance policy for drug use and enforce that policy. Even if the employee testing positive has a medical marijuana card.

This may sound like an obvious conclusion. However, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) and the Oregon Court of Appeals had taken the position that under Oregon’s disability laws, Oregon employers must accommodate employee medical marijuana use. BOLI and the Court of Appeals have been overruled. You can now adopt a policy prohibiting marijuana use, including medical marijuana use, like any other controlled substance. You can then discipline employees that violate this zero tolerance policy, up to and including termination.

If you have a drug and alcohol policy in your employee handbook or as a separate stand-alone policy, now is the time to revise that policy. If you do not have such a policy, now is the time to adopt one.

If you have any questions about the court’s decision, drug and alcohol policies, enforcing drug and alcohol policies or any other topic, please feel free to call Alan Thayer at 541-345-2325.

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