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Addressing Chronic Conditions

Colpitts v. W.B. Mason Co., Inc.


Colpitts v. W.B. Mason Co., Inc., (Rhode Island Supreme Court, May 29, 2020): The Rhode Island Supreme Court upheld the termination of a driver who refused drug testing because he uses medical cannabis. The driver alleged the employer violated the state’s employer drug testing statute when it required him to take a drug test, purportedly without reasonable grounds, and terminated him for refusing. The issue on appeal was whether the trial court erred in finding that the employer had reasonable grounds to believe, “based on specific aspects of [the driver’s] performance and specific documented observations, concerning [his] appearance, behavior and speech, that he might have been under the influence of a controlled substance.” Applying a deferential standard of review, the Rhode Island Supreme Court held there were reasonable grounds for drug testing based on lower court testimony regarding the driver’s language and behavior at work. State law does not require “actual knowledge” or specific symptoms of drug use, but only reasonable grounds to believe the employee is under the influence. Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – July 15, 2020.

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