You know better than to ever use drugs or alcohol at work. You are a safe and responsible employee. However, perhaps you use marijuana on your own time for medical purposes. Some medical professionals consider marijuana to be a less-harm alternative for chronic pain management, making it useful for workers in physically demanding professions. Some researchers have even tied legalization to lower overall workers’ compensation claims because of the pain relief it provides.
Whether you use marijuana medically or occasionally enjoy it socially with your friends, you are responsible about your use. Much like with alcohol, you know to enjoy marijuana for symptom relief or recreation on your own time. However, unlike alcohol, marijuana stays in your system and remains detectable for a month or sometimes even longer after you use it.
Does that mean you can’t receive workers’ compensation if you get hurt on the job?
A drug test alone won’t be grounds for denial
Simply taking a drug test and having a positive result for marijuana does not mean that you are or recently have been under the influence. You could test positive days or weeks after the last time you used marijuana.
Your employer cannot simply deny you benefits because of residual biological evidence of your marijuana use on your own time. They will need to prove, through security footage or witness statements, that you were under the influence on the job and that your impairment was the cause of your injury.
Although you may have an uphill battle during the claims process, you could still theoretically be able to qualify for benefits. Knowing the rules that govern workers’ compensation claims in New Jersey will empower workers to enforce their claims.