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Mary-Ann P. CzakBlog Posts

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  • Pennsylvania Court Affirms Unemployment Benefits for Medical Marijuana User

    A Pennsylvania Appeals Court affirmed an order granting unemployment benefits to a medical marijuana user who was terminated by his employer for a positive drug test.  The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Auth. v. Unemployment Comp. Bd. of Review, Case No. 228 C.D. 2020 (Commw. Ct. Pa. Nov. 18, 2020). The employee was employed as a...… Continue Reading
    November 23, 2020
  • Study Finds Surge In Misuse of Fentanyl, Heroin and Nonprescribed Opioids During COVID-19 Pandemic

    According to a new Quest Diagnostics Health Trends study published on October 8, 2020, the misuse of fentanyl, heroin and nonprescribed opioids has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study analyzed more than 872,000 de-identified lab results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The researchers compared drug positivity rates before the pandemic...… Continue Reading
    October 20, 2020
  • Suspension of Employee Based on Marijuana Odor and Positive Test Result Did Not Violate CBA

    A strong odor of marijuana was sufficient to constitute reasonable suspicion to test, and a positive drug test result constituted just cause for a ten-day suspension, an arbitrator ruled in denying an employee’s grievance.  ZF Active and Passive Safety and UAW, Local 1181, 20-2 ARB ¶ 7646 (Mar. 17, 2020). The union and the employer,...… Continue Reading
    October 7, 2020
  • New York City Commission on Human Rights Issues Final Rule Regarding Exceptions to Ban on Pre-Employment Marijuana Tests

    As discussed in our previous blog post, effective May 10, 2020, covered New York City employers are not permitted to test job candidates for marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) as a condition of employment. The law, however, contains exceptions to this general prohibition on preemployment testing and an employer may require testing for job applicants applying...… Continue Reading
    July 2, 2020
  • FMCSA Proposes New Licensing Rules To Prevent Driving By CMV Drivers With Drug and Alcohol Program Violations

    The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on April 28, 2020 seeking to prohibit State Driver’s Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) from issuing, renewing, upgrading, or transferring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP) for individuals prohibited from driving a commercial motor vehicle...… Continue Reading
    May 1, 2020
  • Pennsylvania Public Policy Did Not Bar Termination of Nuclear Power Plant Employee Who Tested Positive For Alcohol

    A federal district court in Pennsylvania held that public policy did not bar termination of a nuclear power plant employee who tested positive for alcohol. Bennett v. Talen Energy Corp. et al., No. 3:19cv521 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 11, 2019). Plaintiff worked at a nuclear power plant as a production foreman. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“NRC”)...… Continue Reading
    October 23, 2019
  • New York’s Highest Court Finds College Abused Its Discretion By Failing To Grant Adjournment of Administrative Hearing

    In a recent ruling, New York’s highest court recognized the right to counsel when a student is accused of serious misconduct. Matter of Bursch v. Purchase Coll. of the State Univ. of N.Y. In this instance, a college student was accused of multiple violations of the College’s code of conduct, including sexual assault. At the...… Continue Reading
    August 26, 2019
  • New York Offers Tax Credit To Employers Who Hire Recovering Substance Abusers

    In an effort to combat the ongoing opioid crisis and substance abuse, New York State’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 includes the nation’s first tax incentive program for certified employers who hire people recovering from substance use disorders in full-time or part-time positions. The purpose of the Recovery Tax Credit program is two-fold: to create...… Continue Reading
    May 14, 2019
  • Medical Marijuana Users May Not Be Discriminated Against In New Jersey

    A New Jersey appellate court has held that a disabled employee may sue his former employer under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) for alleged discrimination based on the employee’s use of medical marijuana. Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., et al., Docket No. A-3072-17T3 (N.J. App. Div. Mar. 27, 2019). Although the New...… Continue Reading
    March 29, 2019
  • Oregon Supreme Court Holds Employer Not Completely Immune Under Social Host Statute

    Oregon’s highest court has held that although the state’s “social host” law protects certain persons from liability related to their actions taken as “hosts,” there is no similar insulation from liability for alleged tortious conduct committed while acting in another role, such as employer.  Schutz v. La Costita III, Inc., 364 Or. 536 (March 14,...… Continue Reading
    March 20, 2019