What is Fair?
Should every worker injured on the job be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits? What if that worker was high at the time of the injury? Should workers who violate company substance abuse policy, not to mention criminal law, be given the same considerations as other injured workers?
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Oklahoma Correctional Officer Denied Benefits
An Oklahoma correctional officer faced that question after he was injured on the job by an unruly teenager at the juvenile detention center where he worked. The unidentified corrections officer suffered neck and shoulder injuries as a result of the incident, filed a worker's compensation claim, and was on track to receive state worker’s compensation benefits when a post-accident drug test administered days following the incident revealed marijuana use.
The worker claimed that he was had not been using the drug, but that he had been in contact with others while they were smoking pot. Could his positive test result been caused by a “contact high”? Despite the fact it could not be proven that the corrections officer was high on the job on the day of the accident, his claim was still denied. It was also not established whether or not his injuries would have been affected by his unproven drug use.
Oklahoma law states that workers who test positive for drug or alcohol use, or who refuse to be tested, are ineligible for benefits. Is this fair?