Employees Cannot Self Prescribe Medical Marijuana
The recent decision in Parrotta v. PECO Energy, No. 18-2842, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15336 (E.D. PA Jan. 31, 2019) addresses an employee’s self-diagnosed use of medical marijuana along with a number of other ADA and FMLA issues. Michael Parrotta was a senior engineer for PECO when, in September 2016, he was diagnosed with a “second plantar plate tear in his left foot.” He was out of work on FMLA recovering until he could be returned to work on restrictive duty.
Because of the pain involved with his injury, Parrotta began to self prescribe medical marijuana. He was returned to work light duty by his physician, and it was upon his return that Parrotta was subjected to a required drug test. Parrotta failed this drug test because he was self prescribing medical marijuana. He admitted that although Parrotta consulted with a doctor about using medical marijuana, no doctor actually prescribed the medical marijuana. Suit followed where Parrotta alleged violations of the ADA and FMLA.
The case hinged on issues related to properly requesting FMLA benefits and ADA accommodations, but the Court added that as for medical marijuana, an employee must have at minimum medical evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana. The Court did not address the issue of whether the use of properly prescribed medical marijuana would eliminate requirements under required drug tests, but I suspect that workers who are using heavy machinery, automobiles, or are responsible for safety will not be permitted to work if they are using prescribed medical marijuana.
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