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  1. #1
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    Sep 2020
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    Default Can I Be Fired for Drug Use Without Failing a Drug Test

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Pennsylvania

    Thank you to anyone who takes the time to respond. I'm leaving out details of how exactly I got in this situation as I don't want to make a really long post here, if anyone thinks the details are important please ask and I will provide. As it is I'm just going to stick to facts.

    I have a medical marijuana card for the state of Pennsylvania and I realize that does not protect me from being fired should I fail a drug test. It's a risk I regret taking and wish I could take back that decision. If you want details as to why I have the card I would be glad to supply, but please take my word for the fact it was not for recreational purposes. I guess it doesn't matter why I have it, it just matters THAT I have it.

    The bill passed in PA states I cannot be discriminated against (read: fired) just because I have the card. I understand that to mean that if my employer finds out I have the card they can't do anything about it unless I am under the influence at work, my performance drops or I fail a drug test. Please correct me if I am wrong on that.

    I have a non injury condition in my neck that has recently led me to get surgery on it. I needed time off of work obviously, not much, but still had to apply for a leave from work. As part of the request I had to (or at least was lead to believe I had to) sign a release for that the people processing my claim for short term disability that they could access my medical records.

    Even though my use of medical marijuana was very limited (and not something I'm continuing) I was told it was vital to share that information with the anesthesiologist. When I mentioned it he already knew about it despite me not sharing that information with anyone besides my wife. I did not tell the doctor yet they knew. I really don't care that they knew except if that information is shared with the people who managed my claim I am afraid my employer will find out.

    The question the anesthesiologist asked me was when was the last time I used it to which I replied over 10 days ago. The nurse in the room immediately recorded that information into her computer. Thus my concern someone will see that information at my employer.

    My question is can I be fired for admitting to the anesthesiologist my use of medical marijuana? Is that enough proof for my employer who has a zero-tolerance policy to terminate me? Is that merely enough to send me for a drug test (enough time has passed that I will not fail the test)? If I pass the drug test am I safe from termination?

    I really wanted to keep this shorter than I did and I am sure I left something important out so please ask if details are needed.

    I've been there 24 years and am in good standing and this will shock my boss if he finds out. This is not the type of company where honesty is the best policy so simply telling them is not a good idea. I go back to work tomorrow and am worried that when I walk in I will be walked right back out.

    I know laws around medical marijuana are vague at best in some state so I do appreciate any light that can be shed on this for me with the understanding that it's a difficult subject.

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Nov 2015
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    Default Re: Can I Be Fired for Drug Use Without Failing a Drug Test

    Your employer is not privy to your medical records but the insurance company that processes the claim will have access (that you granted) but they can only use that information to decide whether or not you get the STD and cannot share that information with your employer (that I know of, some of the HR folk will certainly correct me if I'm mistaken). That said, your employer can fire you for virtually any reason unless you have a contract or are part of a CBA.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,889

    Default Re: Can I Be Fired for Drug Use Without Failing a Drug Test

    The MMA prohibits the employer from taking action against you solely because you have a MM card.

    The law doesn't protect you from being fired for being under the influence of marijuana (medical or otherwise) at work, nor if your job is one that requires a federal certification (commercial driver, pilot, federal employee, security clearance, etc...) does it protect you. Note that DRUG TESTING is necessary to take action.
    Longevity means squat.

    I would suspect, however, that those admission records are not going to be disclosed to casual disability claim record requests anyhow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
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    5

    Default Re: Can I Be Fired for Drug Use Without Failing a Drug Test

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
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    Your employer is not privy to your medical records but the insurance company that processes the claim will have access (that you granted) but they can only use that information to decide whether or not you get the STD and cannot share that information with your employer (that I know of, some of the HR folk will certainly correct me if I'm mistaken). That said, your employer can fire you for virtually any reason unless you have a contract or are part of a CBA.
    Thank you for the reply. I am not sure I understand the bolded. If that is the case (and I have no reason to believe you are not correct) then what protection does anyone have against wrongful termination?

    Do I have to be given a reason for termination or can they just fire me without cause? If they give a reason and it doesn't make sense do I have any recourse? Example: If they say my performance has slipped to an unacceptable level yet I can (easily) prove I am the top performer in my state, does that matter?

    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    The MMA prohibits the employer from taking action against you solely because you have a MM card.

    The law doesn't protect you from being fired for being under the influence of marijuana (medical or otherwise) at work, nor if your job is one that requires a federal certification (commercial driver, pilot, federal employee, security clearance, etc...) does it protect you. Note that DRUG TESTING is necessary to take action.
    Longevity means squat.

    I would suspect, however, that those admission records are not going to be disclosed to casual disability claim record requests anyhow.
    Thank you as well for the quick reply. I am not in the list of workers above that require any kind of federal license. I think I understand the MMJ act as written in PA and I believe it says I have to be under the influence at work to be terminated (loose translation). The problem with marijuana is that it can test in your system for 90 days in extreme examples, but even as long as a month in singe use users. There is no level of intoxication like a BAC when dealing with alcohol, it's either present in your system or not (pass/fail).

    I know I will not fail a test as I don't use it anymore and have tested myself at a level stricter than state guidelines (passed at 20NG/ML when the requirement is 50NG/ML).

    I guess I was hoping for some assurance that either my employer is not going to be privileged to those medical records OR that simply saying I used is not enough to warrant a termination. I am hoping I actually have to fail a test to be terminated.

    FYI, I do tend to worry about things I shouldn't and maybe this is one of those things.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Can I Be Fired for Drug Use Without Failing a Drug Test

    I am not sure I understand the bolded.
    Refers to a contract that specifies termination for cause and requires a particular process, like a teaching contract, doctor's contract, executive contract, etc. And CBA refers to a union's collective bargaining agreement which could also require cause and procedures.

    Otherwise you are employed at will in Pennsylvania.

    If that is the case (and I have no reason to believe you are not correct) then what protection does anyone have against wrongful termination?
    Wrongful termination involves being terminated illegally which generally involves anti-discrimination laws and a few other things. That you think it's wrong (everybody else does) doesn't make it illegal.

    Do I have to be given a reason for termination
    No. But you probably will be.

    can they just fire me without cause?
    Yes. But your employer will have a reason even if you think otherwise.

    If they give a reason and it doesn't make sense do I have any recourse. Example: If they say my performance has slipped to an unacceptable level yet I can (easily) prove I am the top performer in my state, does that matter?
    No, it doesn't matter. It's your employer's perception that counts, not yours. Your recourse is to file for unemployment compensation and find another job.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2020
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    Default Re: Can I Be Fired for Drug Use Without Failing a Drug Test

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    Refers to a contract that specifies termination for cause and requires a particular process, like a teaching contract, doctor's contract, executive contract, etc. And CBA refers to a union's collective bargaining agreement which could also require cause and procedures.

    Otherwise you are employed at will in Pennsylvania.



    Wrongful termination involves being terminated illegally which generally involves anti-discrimination laws and a few other things. That you think it's wrong (everybody else does) doesn't make it illegal.



    No. But you probably will be.



    Yes. But your employer will have a reason even if you think otherwise.



    No, it doesn't matter. It's your employer's perception that counts, not yours. Your recourse is to file for unemployment compensation and find another job.
    Thank you for the honest/straight forward replies. While not encouraging, I do appreciate them.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2013
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    18,302

    Default Re: Can I Be Fired for Drug Use Without Failing a Drug Test

    Quote Quoting Uneducated
    View Post
    Thank you for the honest/straight forward replies. While not encouraging, I do appreciate them.
    I spent 40 years in the working world. Got fired a few times myself. It happens. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2010
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    19,889

    Default Re: Can I Be Fired for Drug Use Without Failing a Drug Test

    Again, the testing is irrelevant. If your employer suspects you're under the influence of marjuana, he's free to fire you and the act doesn't require any proof. All it says is he can't fire you soley because he finds out you have a mm card.

    You show up apparently stoned or reeking of pot, he's free to show you the door no matter how you test.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can I Be Fired for Drug Use Without Failing a Drug Test

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    Again, the testing is irrelevant. If your employer suspects you're under the influence of marjuana, he's free to fire you and the act doesn't require any proof. All it says is he can't fire you soley because he finds out you have a mm card.

    You show up apparently stoned or reeking of pot, he's free to show you the door no matter how you test.
    What testing or "proof" are you referring to that shows a person is under the influence of marijuana?

  10. #10
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    Nov 2015
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    Default Re: Can I Be Fired for Drug Use Without Failing a Drug Test

    Quote Quoting Harold99
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    What testing or "proof" are you referring to that shows a person is under the influence of marijuana?
    Urine analysis is the most common for spot testing. So what? Are you going to fling some wild theory against the wall and see if it sticks? Perhaps it'll have elements of lawyers sucking, your experience as a contractor, litigation and how fluorescent lights are to blame? RF interference invalidated the test? Lunar rays caused a false positive?
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

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