Barkan Meizlish , May 13, 2015
Recently, an Ohio appeals court ruled that a worker who tested positive for marijuana after a workplace accident was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The claimant was injured when a piece of steel fell on his legs. The claimant was unable to complete the urine drug screen at the hospital, so one was performed approximately one week after the accident.
The drug screen indicated that the claimant tested positive for marijuana metabolite. Regardless, the Industrial Commission of Ohio allowed his claim for workers’ comp benefits. The Employer appealed.
The claimant argued that because marijuana metabolites can remain present in the body well beyond the six-day period between the claimants hospital visit and urine screen, there is no way to show when the claimant may have used marijuana. The employer argued that an employee having marijuana in his system at all violated a workplace rule regarding prohibited drugs. However, on appeal Ohio’s 5th District Court of Appeals affirmed the Stark County Common Pleas Court, reasoning that the claimant was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, unless his drug use was the proximate cause of the injury. In this case, that was not proven.
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