Employer must face discrimination claim in medical marijuana case

Employer must face discrimination claim in medical marijuana case

A company that fired a worker who tested positive for marijuana even though she was authorized to use it by her physician must face a claim of handicap discrimination, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Cristina Barbuto accepted an entry level position at Advantage Sales and Marketing in the summer of 2014. Ms. Barbuto, who was authorized by her physician to use marijuana to stimulate her appetite and help with symptoms of Crohn’s disease, told Advantage she would test positive for marijuana on drug screens. A supervisor told Ms. Barbuto her medicinal use of marijuana “should not be a problem,” which he later confirmed after consulting with others at the company, according to court documents in Cristina Barbuto vs. Advantage Sales and Marketing L.L.C.

 

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Opioids are Just One Pharmaceutical Issue Facing Workers Comp Programs

Opioids are Just One Pharmaceutical Issue Facing Workers’ Comp Programs

By Jim Thompson

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Opioids, the class of powerful pain-relieving drugs including oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and morphine, have dominated headlines in recent years as the United States has seen a rapid increase in problems associated with both their prescription and non-prescription use.

There are, however, other significant pharmaceutical issues in workers’ compensation that have been getting far less attention than opioids.

First, a look at how the opioid issue developed:

It was within the workers’ compensation arena that the problem of opioid addiction began to surface, according to Joe Paduda, president of CompPharma. CompPharma works with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) within workers’ compensation programs to find cost-effective solutions to pharmaceutical issues.

Paduda told WorkersCompensation.com that problems with opioid use — specifically, that the drugs had become at least as much of a medical issue as the underlying injury — were first noticed within workers’ compensation programs more than a decade ago.

In the years since, Paduda said, workers’ compensation programs have come to rely on PBMs to alert claims handlers to opioid issues. In addition, Paduda said, PBMs have set up formularies — lists of approved medications — that provide alternatives to opioids. Read more