Maybe you’re an employee that operates heavy equipment. You’ve also been diagnosed with a long-term auto-immune disease that causes chronic pain.
Chronic pain from your disease keeps you awake at night, sometimes all night. You can’t run the risk of being sleepy on your job. One misstep with the heavy equipment you drive, and someone else’s life is on the line. Most certainly your job is on the line!
Thankfully, your doctor realizes managing your disease requires sending you to a pain management doctor, too.
Together you discuss the options ahead of you. You discuss your job with the pain management doctor, and he still prescribes an opiod pain medicine in addition to other meds needed to fight inflammation in your body. It’s long-lasting pain relief, but you only take it before bedtime.
Your pain management doctor goes the extra mile and writes a note of explanation for your boss.
Yes, you are on opioids. But, yes, your dose is also carefully managed to allow you to safely do your job without creating the risk of a work-related accident. Both you and your doctor are trying to be responsible!
You breathe a sigh of relief because getting a good night’s sleep is a MUST. You just want to function like a normal human being, right? But, you don’t want to lose your job!
Now for a conversation with your department manager or boss. What DO you say? Should you say anything?
You know random drug testing is always lurking!
You know you will fail the drug test at work even though your pain managment doctor has carefully prescribed what you need to function safely on the job.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Prescription pain medicines are a hotly-debated topic, especially in the workplace. In fact, many companies are struggling to come up with a fair and safe workplace drug policy. Some simply opt for a “drug-free workplace” which leaves no room for those who struggle with chronic illness and pain!
Interestingly enough, the state of Missouri does not legislate workplace drug testing for private employers.
This actually means that your workplace in Missouri is not prevented from running random drug tests. However, they cannot violate the Americans with Disabilites Act.
If you are able to legitimately claim a disability, testing positive for certain prescription drugs, even opioids, cannot be held against you. ( Please note: in Missouri, this would not include medical marijuana.)
This is good news for the disabled who truly need their medicines to function!
What if you haven’t yet qualified for disability?
Many of those who suffer from extreme chronic pain still fall into this category. And yet, you also need those pain meds to function!
In this case, an ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure. The best place to start would be a discussion with an experienced Missouri criminal defense and workers’ compensation lawyer.
Since testing positive for opioids in “drug-free workplace” can require entering a drug-rehab program, a reduction in workers’ compensation benefits, or even the loss of your job you need sound legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer. You don’t want to be charged with a crime you never intended to commit!
Missouri’s drug-testing laws in the workplace can be confusing! If you deal with chronic pain and prescription meds, you need to know your legal rights and put a plan in place to protect your job.
You will find the Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC, to be both compassionate and aggressive defenders of the everyday employee. Call for a free initial consultation today at 636-244-3737. Get your questions answered!
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