Emerald Street Fabricators, Inc. v. Bureau of Labor and Industries

230 P.3d 518 (2009)

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Emerald Street Fabricators, Inc. v. Bureau of Labor and Industries

Oregon Supreme Court
230 P.3d 518 (2009)

Facts

Before being drug tested, an unnamed employee (the employee) (plaintiff) disclosed to his employer, Emerald Street Fabricators, Inc. (ESF) (defendant), that he used medical marijuana, as authorized under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA), to treat a physician-recognized debilitating medical condition. Shortly after, ESF terminated the employee for violating ESF’s policy prohibiting illegal drug use. The employee filed a complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) (plaintiff), alleging that ESF had violated Oregon’s employment-discrimination law by refusing to reasonably accommodate the employee’s OMMA-authorized medical-marijuana usage. The administrative-law judge held that (1) the employee was classified as a qualified disabled individual entitled to reasonable employment accommodations and (2) ESF had violated Oregon’s employment-discrimination law by refusing to accommodate the employee. ESF appealed, arguing that the employee had been terminated because of his illegal drug use, not his disability. BOLI countered, arguing that employment-discrimination protections applied to employees whose illegal drug use was authorized by the OMMA. The appellate court affirmed without stating its reasoning. ESF appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, arguing that the OMMA was preempted and invalidated by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), meaning that the employee’s medical-marijuana use was illegal and not subject to employment-discrimination protections.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kistler, J.)

Dissent (Walters, J.)

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