Few Options for Employees Terminated for Positive Drug Tests from CBD

It’s hard to meet someone who hasn’t heard of CBD oil. CBD is the country’s fastest-growing health and wellness product, but there are still many issues surrounding CBD for a simple reason – it comes from the cannabis plant. Though CBD does not cause any psychoactive effects normally associated with cannabis, many employees have claimed they’ve been fired for positive drug tests when they’ve never touched recreational marijuana in their lives. 

Are you thinking to buy CBD oil? CBD oil is legal in the U.S. if it’s derived from industrial hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC. However, even 0.3% THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, can be enough to accumulate in the body’s fat cells resulting in a positive drug test. For perspective, normal marijuana contains anywhere from eight to 30% THC. 

In other words, CBD oil won’t cause any THC-related psychoactive effects, but you might still fail your drug test. Many companies utilize zero-tolerance drug policies, essentially forcing employees to choose between the potential therapeutic effects of CBD or termination. 

CBD advocates claim it’s time for companies across the nation to update their policies to allow employees to use the legalized supplement.

Employment lawyer Seth Ensign knows some companies will be stubborn to update their policies, but others agree with their employees and want to find a middle ground. “[Companies] have been working with us to try and craft their drug-testing policies in a way that allows for that type of wiggle room for employees,” he said.

According to Ensign, one of the best things you can do is talk to your company’s human resources director about their drug policies and any plans to use CBD products. Unfortunately, some states like Utah utilize company-forward termination policies that let employers, fire staff, at any time for any reason with very few exceptions, and failed drug tests from CBD are not among those reasons. With current laws, there is nothing illegal about a company utilizing a zero-tolerance drug policy even though CBD is legal

Ensign states the only real recourse employees have is if the employer failed to make their drug policies transparent or if a failed drug test is used as an excuse to fire someone for other illegal reasons. 

Ensign has suggested companies should use the same strategy as the federal government and allow for gray areas when someone tests positive for THC. Instead of instant termination for any positive results, employers should look at the amount of THC in the employee’s system to help determine further action. 

The Future of CBD in the Workplace

Though you can find federally legal CBD oil in health stores, pharmacies, and your local doctor’s office, there is currently no legislation, or action employees can take if they’re fired for CBD use. It’s best to talk to your HR rep if you plan on using CBD or hope that the professional work environment catches up to society’s open attitude towards CBD soon.