Is use of CBD oil, and a subsequent positive marijuana drug test, protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? A federal court says no.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana dismissed an employee’s ADA discrimination suit because it’s not logical to assume an employer who conducts drug testing believes that anyone who tests positive is disabled.
Result due to cannabinoid oil?
John Rocchio was an engineer with E&B Paving LLC and was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 103.
E&B had a drug test policy which required testing for marijuana and allowed for termination for a positive drug test result.
Rocchio was required to take a random drug test on July 9, 2019, which came back positive for marijuana metabolites.
However, Rocchio claimed the result was due to his use of CBD, or cannabinoid oil, which is a legally sold hemp extract.
Union won’t file grievance
Despite his claims, the company terminated him for the positive drug test result, so Rocchio sought to file a grievance against E&B with the union.
But the union wasn’t interested in filing a grievance for Rocchio, stating that it wasn’t interested in follow-up drug test results, which it felt could have been faked.
In response, Rocchio filed an ADA discrimination suit against E&B and the union.
‘It does not follow’
Rocchio argued his former employer’s policy of terminating employees over positive drug test results regards those employees not only as users of illegal drugs but also as disabled since “safety was the rationale for the drug testing policy,” according to law firm Jackson Lewis.
The court found that Rocchio’s argument didn’t make sense because “it does not follow that because (an employer has) a drug testing policy for safety reasons, they automatically believe that every employee with a positive test result has an impairment under the ADA.”
There also was no evidence E&B believed Rocchio was disabled or terminated him because of a perceived disability.