CBD termination lawsuit draws attention to employer awareness, labeling consistency

CBD termination lawsuit draws attention to employer awareness, labeling consistency

A Texas woman recently filed suit against a former employer that terminated her when her legal CBD use resulted in a false positive on a drug test.

Melanie Farr, 48, claimed Management & Training Corp. violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing her for taking CBD oil for her Multiple Sclerosis. Farr’s employee rights struggle highlights a nationwide trend amid the confusing regulatory and legal landscape since hemp was made legal in 2018.

Farr said her company refused to meet the “reasonable accommodation” requirement of the ADA even though her bosses knew she used the substance to help with her limp and other MS-related health problems. [1]

“We discussed it many, many times,” Far told the San Antonio Express-News. “I worked there a long time taking it. I’m a counselor. That’s what I do. So if I was high, somebody would have said something. It was clear I wasn’t high.”

The problem for Farr is that some CBD includes THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that drug tests seek to detect. The level of THC must remain under 0.3% within CBD oil and products in order to stay legal, but any trace amount can result in a false positive drug test.

Meanwhile, Farr is far from the only American worker facing employment problems from the drug testing that turns on CBD users.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Statesville North Carolina resident Jean Smith was fired from her job as an auto auctioneer after a similar false positive drug test turned up THC in the CBD she used for fybromyalgia chronic pain. [2]

Smith said her doctor gave her the go-ahead to switch to CBD oil “as an alternative therapy for her pain and anxiety” after facing negative side effects from her prescription medications. [2]

Despite the fact Smith’s supervisors at Manheim Statesville told her they would fight for her continued employment, the corporate decision came down to terminate her despite her open and clear communications that she was using a legal CBD substance. [2]

In another lawsuit from last fall, a New York commercial hazmat driver claimed a cannabis company acted illegally by not complying with regulations on THC maximums and for lying on the labels of the products he used. [3]

The driver had worked the same post for 29 years before being terminated for failing a random urine test. [3]

“People are consuming products that are effectively legal,” University of Texas Health San Antonio professor Brett Ginsburg told the Express-News. “But once they consume them, they may now test positive for an illicit substance. So it is an issue.” [1]


[1] https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/woman-CBD-MS-drug-test-use-lawsuit-firing-oil-15119756.php

[2] https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article232244097.html

[4] https://www.laborandemploymentlawcounsel.com/2019/10/cbd-lawsuit-reflects-trucker-termination-for-thc-tainted-drug-products/