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Opioids and Marijuana in the Workplace: How to Manage Effects, Combat Addiction and Limit Legal Liability

Opioids and Marijuana in the Workplace: How to Manage Effects, Combat Addiction and Limit Legal Liability

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Opioids and Marijuana in the Workplace: How to Manage Effects, Combat Addiction and Limit Legal Liability

Live Webinar: Tuesday, October 31, 2017

1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern/10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pacific


WEBINAR SNAPSHOT: Learn legal strategies for developing, implementing, and evaluating your drug-use policy to better manage the impact of the opioid epidemic and the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in your workplace.


 

Opioid and marijuana usage is cause for concern for both safety and HR managers for many reasons. For starters marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes in 29 states, and legalized for recreational use in eight. Add to that a nationwide increase in the abuse of prescription opioids, and employers are faced with unique challenges. Making things even more complicated are OSHA regulations regarding workplace safety and drug testing policies. 

Employers have questions about whether and when they can screen out applicants based on positive drug test results. Also, employers may find that drug-screening practices are deterring qualified workers with medical marijuana cards from applying for work in the first place. In addition, drug free workplace policies and drug testing protocols should be updated to reflect that recreational use or transfer in the workplace or reporting to work under the influence of marijuana is strictly prohibited, and that de-criminalization of marijuana does not impact the enforcement of the employer’s policies. 

Opioids are a powerful class of drug and usage has proven to result in debilitating addictions, and more than 70 percent of United States employers are feeling the direct impact of prescription drug misuse in their workplaces, according to a survey from the National Safety Council. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose-related deaths are up, and six out of 10 of the fatalities involve an opioid. Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the United States has essentially quadrupled while there has not been a change in the amount of pain being reported. 

It's a tricky situation and employers need to be clear on what they can and can’t do to enforce drug-free workplace policies where medical or recreational marijuana use is permitted under state law. What steps can you take to enforce your drug-free workplace policy without violating the ADA or other state or federal law? 

Join us on October 31 for a comprehensive webinar on these issues and more. Tess Benham, a National Safety Council’s (NSC) expert on developing, implementing, and evaluating programs to prevent prescription drug overdose and Patricia S. Eyres, a skilled ADA attorney, will explain practical—and legal—steps you must take to manage the impact of the opioid epidemic and the growing legalization of medical and recreational marijuana. 

You’ll learn: 

  • Revealing insights from a recent NSC survey on the prevalence of opioid usage 
  • New data on the costs of missed work, job turnover and excess healthcare usage by workers with a substance use disorders. 
  • A tool to calculate the your company’s costs of substance use among your workforce 
  • An employer’s duty to update its drug-free workplace policy in states where recreational and/or medicinal marijuana have been decriminalized 
  • The practical impact opioid usage can have worker productivity and safety, and when you have an obligation to take action under OSHA’s general duty clause
  • Aligning post-incident drug testing policies with OSHA’s new rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses 
  • What to do if an employee appears impaired on the job 
  • What you can and can’t do to enforce drug-free workplace policies where medical and/or recreational marijuana usage is permitted under state law 
  • Strategies for improving your drug-free workplace policies—and how to align your benefits programs with such policies 
  • How to handle confidentiality and electronic recordkeeping issues so you don’t spark legal liabilities for your organization 
  • How to recognize a “trigger” to conduct an interactive process under the ADA when opioid dependencies or side effects may require a reasonable accommodation evaluation. 
  • Why reasonable accommodations for a “disability” are not required for applicants or employees who are prescribed marijuana for medicinal purposes, but outright exclusions of medical marijuana users may still violate the ADA non-discrimination provisions 
  • Steps to take to enforce your drug-use policy without violating the ADA, the FMLA, or other federal laws, such as HIPAA 
  • Pointers on managing workers’ compensation claims 
  • How to communicate with employees about potential drug abuse 
  • When granting leave may be required as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA or the FMLA 
  • Warning signs of a potential opioid addiction and what your organization can do to minimize the risk of addiction when employees are taking prescribed drugs to manage chronic or acute pain 
  • Your role as a safety or HR manager in helping addicted workers 

About Your Presenters

Tess BenhamTess Benham 
Senior Program Manager, Prescription Drug Overdose Initiatives 
National Safety Council 

Tess Benham has developed programs promoting safety and health in home and community settings. Ms. Benham serves a Certifier for communities seeking designation through the Safe Communities America Initiative. She is also a trained Illinois Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor. 



Patricia EyresPatricia S. Eyres, Esq. 
Managing Partner 
Eyres Law Group, LLP 

Patricia S. Eyres, Esq., the managing partner of Eyres Law Group, LLP, focuses on helping employers manage disability discrimination issues for both workers’ comp and non-occupational disabilities. As president of Litigation Management & Training Services and CEO/Publisher of Proactive Law Press, LLC, Eyres trains managers and supervisors on how to recognize risks, prevent lawsuits, and maintain defensible documentation. 

 

Have a specific question related to the topic of this audio conference? Post it here and get an answer during the event, time permitting, or in a follow-up e-mail from the audio conference presenter. This is only available to audio conference registrants.

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