Would it surprise you that nearly ten percent of American workers have gone to work high on marijuana? According to one survey, this is the case. There are many reasons for not going to work intoxicated, but a workplace injury is one that our Joplin workers compensation lawyer suggests is very important to consider. Most employers test employees following a work-related injury. If you test positive for marijuana, you will most likely ruin your chance for workers compensation benefits. This may still be true with the passing of Missouri’s medical marijuana law. Here are some things to consider.
Missouri’s New Medical Marijuana Law
Marijuana remains illegal in some states. However, according to one article, thirty-three states and D.C. have legalized marijuana to some degree. Ten states and D.C. have gone so far as to legalize marijuana for recreational use. While Missouri has not gone that far, the state has just recently legalized marijuana for medical use and expects to have 192 medical marijuana dispensaries open by 2020.
How do Marijuana Laws Affect the Workplace?
With all of these new laws, employers will likely find it challenging to establish appropriate guidelines that address workers coming to work under the influence of medical marijuana. Despite these new laws, the importance of maintaining a safe work environment still exists. This is particularly true in jobs that are inherently dangerous like construction, trucking, and aviation. The need for a drug-free workplace cannot be overstated.
Most issues that arise when marijuana legalization laws are passed involve the right to possess firearms. However, the repercussions of legal marijuana use on employment are an important factor to be considered and one that will continue to become more of an issue. For example, what can employers do if an employee comes to work under the influence of medical marijuana? This issue requires a difficult balance between an employee’s right to use marijuana as a legal substance and the need to maintain a safe working environment for everyone.
What if I Have to Submit to a Drug Test After a Work Injury?
Most employers require employees to submit to a drug test after a workplace injury and in most states, including Missouri, this is perfectly legal. If you test positive for marijuana, it is possible that your workers’ compensation claim will be denied. Even if you test negative at the time of the workplace injury or accident, your credibility may still be questioned simply because your employer is aware of your medical marijuana use. If you sustain a workplace injury and your claim is denied, you should speak to our Joplin workers compensation lawyer to determine your rights.
Should I Hire a Joplin Workers Compensation Lawyer?
If there are any complex issues in your case, such as medical marijuana use, the wisest decision is to consult with a Joplin workers compensation lawyer. For example, if your employer denies your claim or you do not receive your benefits, as you should, then an attorney should get involved. Almost 80% of employees who are injured at work do not appeal the denial of their claim. Consulting a Joplin workers compensation lawyer provides you with the best chance of receiving a fair settlement for your injuries.
Basically, if your employer denies your claim or you do not receive your benefits as you should, then an attorney should get involved. Most employees who are injured at work do not appeal the denial of their claim. Consulting a Joplin workers compensation lawyer provides you with the best chance of receiving a fair settlement for your injuries.
Regardless of the Law, Being High at Work Can be Dangerous
Regardless of the legality of marijuana use in Missouri and your rights to workers compensation benefits, being intoxicated while at work can be dangerous and make you more prone to injury. It can also make it more likely that you injure someone else in the workplace. Mind-altering substances like marijuana will affect your motor skills and reflexes. They can also affect your judgment. Ultimately, using marijuana at work (whether legal or not) can jeopardize your safety, the safety of those around you, and your entitlement to workers compensation benefits. If you still have questions about legal marijuana use and workers compensation benefits, let our Joplin workers compensation lawyer answer those questions for you.
If you have questions regarding marijuana use in the workplace or any other workers compensation matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 616-6356.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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