Vaccinations and Religion: The Limits Are Set

Flushot.jpgThe anti-vaccination movement has been gaining traction in the United States for several years, much to the chagrin of safety-minded employers. While businesses offer ever broader benefits to limit the business impact of nationwide pandemics, including on-site flu clinics, many employees are refusing to participate and lowering the efficacy of vaccinations for those who do.  In an effort to protect their decision-making, anti-vaccination employees are claiming that their decisions are motivated by “sincere and strongly held beliefs” that are tantamount to a religious conviction.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the appellate court responsible for reviewing all federal trial court decisions in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, has rejected this argument. Continue reading

Is It Time to Rethink Your Zero Tolerance Drug Policy?

By William W. Bowser

Background

In my practice, drug and alcohol issues came to the forefront in the 90’s. There was a lot of publicity then about transit workers and big rig drivers causing accidents when they were high.

The Department of Transportation (“DOT”) responded by adopting regulations 5161819684_6b310a493b_zrequiring CDL drivers to be tested for drugs under various scenarios. These scenarios included pre-employment, post-accident, and at random. Every employer with at least one CDL driver had to adopt a pretty comprehensive drug and alcohol policy.  I drafted a lot of them.

Once the CDL drivers were covered, employers started expanding the scope of these policies to cover other employees. The stated purpose was to have an efficient and productive workplace and to protect the public. Continue reading

Compassionless Court Kicks Marijuana Claim

By Michael P. Stafford

Marijuana is back in the news here in Delaware. Our state’s first Compassion Center is set to open later this month and legislation decriminalizing the sacred herb has been signed into law by Governor Jack Markell.  medical marijuana_3

Delaware is by no means unique-it is part of a national trend towards decriminalization and even legalization occurring at the state level across the nation. However, as far as the federal government is concerned, marijuana remains illegal. Essentially, America is becoming a veritable patchwork quilt of differing, and inconsistent approaches-a situation that is creating headaches for employers, particularly those with national or multi-state operations, striving for consistency and uniformity in their drug policies. Continue reading

DOT Regs vs. Lawful Marijuana Use

Medical-marijuana laws have been passed in several states. Although Delaware passed a law permitting medicinal use of marijuana, implementation was blunted by potential prosecution by the federal government. And, last month, Colorado and Washington voters made recreational use of marijuana legal in those states. Both medical- and recreational-marijuana-use laws raise lots of questions for employers. Continue reading

Feds Blunt Delaware’s Medical-Marijuana Law

Delaware’s medical-marijuana program has gone up in smoke. According to the News Journal, Gov. Markell “has suspended the regulation-writing and licensing process for medical-marijuana dispensaries–effectively killing the program.” The decision comes in response to a letter from U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III. Continue reading

Will Delaware’s Medical Marijuana Law Go Up In Smoke?

Delaware legalized marijuana for medicinal uses in May 2010. The law provides that Delaware residents with certain specific medical conditions will be able to legally purchase marijuana at “compassion centers” in the State. While the law is now technically in effect, there are no compassion centers to make a purchase. That’s because the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services has not yet issued the needed regulations. The law requires the DHSS to issue the regulations by July 1, 2012. Continue reading

Waiting to Exhale: Delaware’s Medical-Marijuana Law

medical_marijuanaMedical-marijuana laws have been blazing a trail across the U.S. since California’s passage of Proposition 215 in 1996.  This year, the Delaware General Assembly began experimenting with marijuana legislation.  With the passage of Senate Bill 17 (“S.B. 17”), on May 11, 2011, which was signed by Governor Markell immediately, Delaware joined the 15 other states and the District of Columbia that have bills legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Continue reading