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When Federal & State Laws Collide In The Workplace
Posted by A. Shapiro
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In an ideal world government would have no say in the hiring practices of private companies, so such an issue would never arise. But we live in the world we live in, so perhaps it is helpful that the California Supreme Court has taken the case of Gary Ross, a former computer systems administrator who was fired for testing positive for marijuana, even though he was using it to alleviate chronic back pain with the approval of a physician, which is legal under the Compassionate Use Act approved by voters in 1996 and has never been challenged or invalidated in court. The situation is confusing, and companies could use a little guidance, even if the Supreme Court decides the proper… Read More
Medical Marijuana User Banned From Regatta
Posted by A. Shapiro
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Irvin Rosenfeld, the South Florida stockbroker who gained national attention for his fight to freely use marijuana as medicine, has run into resistance from one of the nation’s top sailing events for the disabled and expects to be barred from next year’s event. The reason: an independent group that monitors use of drugs by athletes won’t exempt the pot Rosenfeld uses to treat tumors that would otherwise leave him bedridden and in pain. Rosenfeld, who has sailed in three races of the North American Challenge Cup in 11 years, has asked the race’s organizers and the U.S. Sailing Association to overrule the United States Anti-Doping Agency and let him sail in the 2006 regatta. He said an event that celebrates… Read More
The Millworker’s Argument
Posted by A. Shapiro
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The Oregon Supreme Court has agreed to review Washburn v. Columbia Forest Products, Inc., a case that will clarify how much protection the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) affords workers. Millworker Robert Washburn of Klamath Falls got a card through the state program in 1999 after a doctor approved his marijuana use for pain-related insomnia. Washburn never showed signs of impairment on the job, but was fired in 2001 after his urine tested positive for marijuana metabolites. Washburn sued for reinstatement and back pay. A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge ruled against him, citing a clause in OMMA releasing employers from any obligation to accommodate “use of medical marijuana in any workplace.” Washburn appealed, arguing that he didn’t use marijuana… Read More
Suit Spurs Debate On Hair Test For Drugs
Posted by A. Shapiro
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The seven police officers swore they didn’t use cocaine, yet their hair tested positive for the drug. They are now suing the Boston police department, claiming the mandatory drug test that got them fired is unreliable and racially biased. Their civil rights lawsuit is one of many legal challenges to the use of hair to test for drug use by police officers and private sector workers. Employers like the test because it can detect drugs up to three months after use; urine tests go back one to three days and can be altered by a range of products. But critics say hair testing is unfair because drug compounds show up more readily in dark hair than light hair, and it… Read More
Congress Fears Plastic Cocks
Posted by A. Shapiro
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A life like prosthetic penis called the Whizzinator and other products promising to help illegal drug users pass urine test provoked US lawmakers on Wednesday to take legal action and subpoenas of manufacturers. Lawmakers objected to attempts to circumvent drug tests with the products such as the Whizzinator, a fake penis that can provide a flow of clean urine “again and again anytime, anywhere you need it!” according to the web site. A congressional subcommittee voted to subpoena the owner of Puck Technology of Signal Hill, Ca, the company that makes the Whizzinator. The panel also voted to subpoena the owners of Health Choice of NY and Spectrum Labs of Cincinnati, two companies that lawmakers said also were suspected of… Read More
Fired City Employee Pursues Prop 215 Discrimination Suit
Posted by A. Shapiro
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Fired city employee Logan Shawn Dake said he’s done nothing wrong by using medical marijuana during his off hours and he just wants to get back to caring for lawns in city parks and cemeteries. The former maintenance worker has gone before the City Council in recent weeks to plead his case, saying he’s trying to save them from a potentially expensive lawsuit for discrimination based on a medical condition. “The longer it goes, the more it is going to cost and it will be no one’s fault but the city’s,” Dake told the council last month. “All I want is my job back. This is a fight the city cannot win.” Dake is also asking for back pay. A… Read More
Drug Test Nation
Posted by A. Shapiro
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One look at the Cozart RapiScan, a self-proclaimed complete “on-site oral fluid drugs of abuse diagnostic system,” and it’s obvious: This isn’t your parents’ drug test. Gone are the golden days of the plastic collection cup. The Cozart saliva testing system comes in a spiffy silver suitcase And consists of an oral fluid collection swab, a disposable test cartridge, its own handheld digital computer, and a portable printer “for a permanent record of test results.” The official U.S. distributor of the RapiScan, The Dominion Diagnostics Corporation, was one of many hi-tech exhibitors hawking their wares in Tampa last spring at a meeting of corporate drug testers, toxicologists and law enforcement officers, sponsored, in part, by the Office of National Drug… Read More
Schools May Use Spray to Trace Kids’ Drug Use
Posted by A. Shapiro
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Two years after approving the use of drug-sniffing dogs, Broward County schools may have another narcotic-fighting weapon: an aerosol spray that detects residue on school desks or backpacks, similar to bomb-detection equipment used in airports. Despite research that shows drug use is down among high school seniors since the early 1980s, school systems nationwide are becoming more aggressive at trying to curtail the problem. And the federal government is helping, with grants to more than 20 school systems that want to try the new spray. If the Broward School Board approves the kits this fall, a principal could rub sticky paper on a locker or desk—or anything else that might have been touched by a drug user—and then spray it… Read More
Random Drug Test Ban OK’d
Posted by A. Shapiro
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Bret Harte Union High School in Angels Camp probably will stop testing student-athletes for drugs if a legislative effort to ban random checks becomes law, Superintendent Joseph Wilimek said Wednesday. Senate Bill 1386 would allow a test only if there is “reasonable suspicion” that a student is using drugs. The measure advanced out of the Assembly Education Committee on Wednesday and is close to reaching Gov. Schwarzenegger’s desk. The measure needs final approval from the full Assembly; the Senate already passed it. Wilimek, whose Calaveras County high school is the only one in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and foothills with a random drug-testing program, said the bill would open up too many legal and public relations challenges if a… Read More
Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Posted by A. Shapiro
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Clay Cochran isn’t an NBA star. Nor is he a pilot, a soldier or a crane operator. But Cochran, an 18-year-old football player on the honor roll at Oak Mountain High School in the affluent suburbs of Birmingham, Ala., has something in common with the people in those jobs. He’s subject to random drug tests. Cochran’s school doesn’t have any reason to believe he takes drugs, but it tests him nonetheless. That’s because Oak Mountain’s district is among the vanguard of schools requiring kids to submit to random drug tests before allowing them to join the chess club, the cheerleading squad or any other extracurricular activity. Cochran, for one, has a problem with the policy. “It makes you feel like… Read More
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