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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ


Date: 06/09/21 08:55
Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: cjvrr

Link to NJ.com story

A Watco employee was recently dismissed from his job in NJ for failing a drug test.

I am not advocating one way or the other but it is my understanding the FRA still has a zero tolerance policy on marijuana use.   

Medical use of marijuana is approved in NJ at this time.   Recreational use was approved by the voters but is still held up in the legislature workingon the details of the program.

As an aside I oversee an agency with CDL drivers and we have a zero tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol use. If a drug test is failed, the person is not permitted to operate a vehicle or machinery but is referred to a program.   After completion of the program and a number of scheduled and random drug test over a certain amount of time that employee can be terminated if additional tests are failed.



Date: 06/09/21 09:07
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: justalurker66

Does any state require employers to allow their employees to use legal marijuana?
Railroads would be under federal law where marihuana remains illegal - but even for normal employers employees have lost cases where their employer objected to use.



Date: 06/09/21 10:20
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: djh4d

They can legalize it to the point where the police won't arrest you for having it, but your employer (the railroad) can still forbid it. What do you think they'll do if they catch you drunk at work?

-Dave



Date: 06/09/21 10:21
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: cjvrr

Yes, NJ's law states you can't fire a worker for permitted medical use.  But I agree a railroad operation is under federal jurisidction.   It's going to be interesting in how this plays out.

justalurker66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does any state require employers to allow their
> employees to use legal marijuana?
> Railroads would be under federal law where
> marihuana remains illegal - but even for normal
> employers employees have lost cases where their
> employer objected to use.



Date: 06/09/21 10:43
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: justalurker66

NJ Law:

24:6I-8 Inapplicability of act.

8.The provisions of this act shall not be construed to permit a person to:
a.operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any vehicle, aircraft, railroad train, stationary heavy equipment or vessel while under the influence of marijuana;



Date: 06/09/21 10:43
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: wyeth

The real problem here is that Marijuana stays in your system for something like 30 days (?), so even if you're responsible and don't work under its effects, you still can get busted for it.  It's likely this person wasn't under its effects while on duty (let's hope they are NOT THAT STUPID), but is fired for doing something that is legal in his state while on their own time.  Can one imagine if alcohol had the same issue - virtually no one could work for a railroad.

Railroads are even getting more aggressive with other medications as well, even one's that are over the counter.

Interestingly, they seem to be fine with stimulants (LOL); they probably know that is the only way crews can stay awake with the kind of work/rest (lack there of) cycles/being on call 24/7 they have to live with!

cjvrr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, NJ's law states you can't fire a worker for
> permitted medical use.  But I agree a railroad
> operation is under federal jurisidction.   It's
> going to be interesting in how this plays out.
>
> justalurker66 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Does any state require employers to allow their
> > employees to use legal marijuana?
> > Railroads would be under federal law where
> > marihuana remains illegal - but even for normal
> > employers employees have lost cases where their
> > employer objected to use.



Date: 06/09/21 11:24
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: pal77

There is a quote in the law thats taught from law school on up, "The Railroad always wins."  



Date: 06/09/21 11:28
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: dschlegel

I’m not sure if it is still the case, but I know that the Reading and Northern would not hire a tobacco user and forbade tobacco use by anyone on the property.

If a railroad can refuse employment for tobacco use I would have to believe HR law would also provide for termination of an employee for marijuana use.

Dan

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/09/21 11:51
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: co614

It ain't complicated. It's still a federally illegal substance. Railroads are federally regulated. Therefore testing positive for it is an automatic terminating event.

   Bottom line...if you want to work on the railroad DO NOT use pot.

   The 6 companies I'm involved with also have a strictly enforced no drugs policy ( includes pot) and have had to fire a good number of younger workers for testing positive for pot. 

    Sad but true, Ross Rowland 



Date: 06/09/21 12:01
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: radar

dschlegel Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I’m not sure if it is still the case, but I know
> that the Reading and Northern would not hire a
> tobacco user and forbade tobacco use by anyone on
> the property.
>

Employers do that because it lowers their health insurance costs significantly.  Good on them for providing insurance for their employees.



Date: 06/09/21 12:04
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: ShortlinesUSA

I was there last week.  RBMN is still not permitting tobacco use on the property.  

All this is the same for the airlines, and we've received a number of communications from our union emphasizing two things--

1.  It does not matter if it is legal in that state or country; it is illegal for your job, and a failed drug test is handled the same regardless of the circumstances.  

2.  DO NOT use CBD!!!  Yes, many CBD products claim to be THC-free, but in large they are not tested and you really don't know if they are 100% THC-free.  Flunk a drug test because of that CBD cream you put on your sore elbow?  See number 1.



dschlegel Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I’m not sure if it is still the case, but I know
> that the Reading and Northern would not hire a
> tobacco user and forbade tobacco use by anyone on
> the property.
>
> If a railroad can refuse employment for tobacco
> use I would have to believe HR law would also
> provide for termination of an employee for
> marijuana use.
>
> Dan
>
> Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/09/21 12:54
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: MEKoch

And CSX does random durg testing frequently.  A CSX employee I know has been tested three times in 90 days.......



Date: 06/09/21 13:14
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: dschlegel

MEKoch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And CSX does random durg testing frequently.  A
> CSX employee I know has been tested three times in
> 90 days.......

Sounds like my Air Force days, I was tested twice in the same week. The second time I had worked changing an engine on the flight line and got to my dorm room at 3am, phone rang at 5am and I had to report to the base theater for a golden flow test.

Dan

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/09/21 17:24
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: engineerinvirginia

MEKoch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And CSX does random durg testing frequently.  A
> CSX employee I know has been tested three times in
> 90 days.......

I do know this....20 years ago I got randomed three times in two weeks......still weirds me out....



Date: 06/09/21 18:02
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: steamloco

As a truck driver we can't take a chance on CDC Oil, possibly could give a positive test result. Not worth it and I don't know what it does anyway.



Date: 06/09/21 19:22
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: Badorder

My last physical at amtrak I admitted I smoke weed as prescribed by a licensed doctor. Never heard another word about it. Must be a California thang. I'm a conductor.

Posted from Android

Proud Foamer
OAKLEY, CA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/21 21:00 by Badorder.



Date: 06/10/21 04:18
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: inrdjlg

I've heard that it's best to avoid any food that has poppy seeds as well, such as salad dressing or bagels.  They can affect a drug test.  



Date: 06/10/21 04:33
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: UPGP7126

As with any prescription drug, most railroads have a medial authority which determines if you can work in an operations craft while taking a specific doctor ordered drug.  If not you are moved temporarioraly to a non operating job on certain roads or required to take sick time.  It does make sense not to allow engineers and conductors to work while taking a drug that can effect their ability to do their jobs.  With medical pot, there is the issue of if being in yoru system for a much longer time than other drugs.  Certainly if it can be proven that the worker was not taking the drug for a significiant time prior to the test, he has reason for arbitration.   This would seem to be something that needs to be addressed in future rule books.  Cell phones were not an issue 30 years ago, nor was medical marajuana.  Time to update the rules and make it clear what is and is not acceptible when a doctor prescribes medical marajuana use.  I would have to believe that there are alternative treatments and railroad employees should probably suggest to their docotrs that they'd rather find another option.



Date: 06/10/21 05:28
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: choodude

inrdjlg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've heard that it's best to avoid any food that has poppy seeds as well, such as salad dressing or bagels.  They can affect a drug test.  


It's my understanding that poppy seeds may trip the initial screening test, but would not show positive in the more detailed follow up version.



Date: 06/10/21 19:17
Re: Railroad Employee firing for Medical Marijuana use in NJ
Author: ShortlinesUSA

You are correct on this.  My wife once offered me a poppy seed bagel on a trip to Asheville, NC.  I told her "I can't eat those, I'll bust a drug test."  Guess who got randomed when he showed up for work after that "romantic weekend?"  I always gave her grief that she was setting me up to get fired.


inrdjlg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've heard that it's best to avoid any food that
> has poppy seeds as well, such as salad dressing or
> bagels.  They can affect a drug test.  



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