Employee’s Request To Revise Drug Policy To Address CBD Use Was Not A Reasonable Accommodation

Jackson Lewis P.C.

A federal court in Tennessee dismissed an employee’s lawsuit in which she claimed that her employer should have changed its drug policy to allow CBD use. Hamric v. City of Murfreesboro, Case No. 3:18-cv-01239 (September 10, 2020).

The City of Murfreesboro hired Hamric as a Cultural Arts Program Specialist in August of 2015. Her job duties included teaching children’s art classes and teaching adult artist development courses, among other things. The position subjected Hamric to pre-employment drug testing, for cause testing, random testing and testing for promotions into safety-sensitive positions.

During her employment, Hamric told her supervisor that she used cannabidiol (CBD) to treat anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, although she did not have a formal medical recommendation to do so.

In 2018, Hamric was recommended for a promotion and was required to pass a drug test. She tested positive for marijuana and blamed the result on her use of CBD.

When Hamric was advised that she likely would be terminated for the failed drug test, she resigned. In her resignation letter, she stated that the city should revise its drug policy to address CBD use. She later filed suit alleging that she was discriminated against on the basis of her disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the Tennessee Disability Act.

The court dismissed the discriminatory discharge claim because none of the decision-makers were aware that Hamric was disabled. Her failure-to-accommodate claim also was dismissed because she failed to provide evidence that her request to revise the drug policy was necessary to enable her to perform her essential job functions.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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