DC 200.2 Drug Use

Click on the case numbers below for eligibility decisions based upon deliberate misconduct, where a claimant’s termination from work was alleged to be connected to drug use.

0033 8959 46

0033 8959 46 (Dec. 11, 2020) – The claimant failed a pre-employment drug screening for a DOT position and was discharged. Because there was no evidence the claimant used drugs while working for the employer, there was no policy violation or deliberate misconduct.  He may not be disqualified under G.L. c. 151A, § 25(e)(2).

0033 6069 23

0033 6069 23 (June 9, 2020) Claimant refused to take a reasonable suspicion drug test required by the employer’s drug policy, and she did not establish that something outside of her control prevented her from taking the test.  Held the claimant is ineligible for benefits due to deliberate misconduct in wilful disregard of the employer’s interest under G.L. c. 151A, § 25(e)(2).

0023 4482 89

0023 4482 89 (Sept. 27, 2018) – Directive to submit to a Fitness for Duty examination based solely upon using an over-the-counter hemp based cream to relieve chronic knee pain was unreasonable, where the product did not contain THC, claimant’s job performance was unaffected, and her behavior was normal. Claimant’s discharge for refusing to take the exam was not disqualifying under G.L. c. 151A, § 25(e)(2).

0022 3185 13

0022 3185 13 (May 30, 2018) – Because the review examiner failed to weigh material and seemingly credible evidence that tended to show the claimant police officer did not ingest cocaine, against the employer’s positive hair follicle test evidence, his decision to disqualify the claimant due to deliberate misconduct was incorrect as a matter of law.

0019 4525 76

0019 4525 76 (Mar. 30, 2017) – Claimant was not disqualified from receiving benefits after being fired for refusing to take a drug test.  His reason for refusing was more in furtherance of his own privacy interest than in wilful disregard of the employer's relatively speculative concern about confirming that the claimant was "clean."  Moreover, the employer's reasons for asking for the test—that the claimant's driving duties were about to increase and another driver had just failed a drug test—were not included in its drug test policy.

0017 2240 72

0017 2240 72 (Sept. 28, 2016) – Notwithstanding the provisions of G.L. c. 94C, § 32L, the claimant commercial truck driver is disqualified from benefits under Olmeda, because he ingested marijuana even though he knew he was subject to random DOT drug testing and would lose his CDL and ability to perform his job if he failed such test.  He was at fault for his own separation.

0018 3168 60

0018 3168 60 (July 29, 2016) – Claimant, who tested positive for marijuana, is not disqualified from receiving benefits in light of G.L. c. 93, § 32L.  She was not under the influence of drugs while working, she was injured accidentally performing her job duties, and she was not subject to federal Department of Transportation rules and regulations.


BR-118149 (May 29, 2012) – Under the standard set forth by the Supreme Judicial Court’s Thomas O’Connor & Co. decision, the majority held that a claimant’s post-accident positive marijuana test did not preclude him from collecting unemployment benefits. Since he was not impaired at the time of the accident, the claimant’s use of marijuana at a bar-b-que outside of work several weeks earlier was not deliberate misconduct in wilful disregard of the employer’s drug testing policy. One Member wrote a dissenting opinion.


BR-110354 (June 3, 2011) – Employer did not meet its burden to prove materials handler was working under the influence of marijuana, where the claimant denied using marijuana and the employer's drug test procedure was flawed.  Since there was no evidence that the individual, collection facility, or lab was certified to administer drug tests, we do not know if they were qualified to do so. Since we do not know how the urine sample was shipped from the collection facility to the lab, we have no assurance that it was the claimant's urine that was tested.


BR-112754-A (Mar. 30, 2011) – Claimant’s theft from the employer was not mitigated by his addiction to illegal drugs.


BR-109252-A (Feb. 24, 2011) – A majority of the Board awarded benefits to a dock worker, where the only evidence of the presence of an illegal drug or controlled substance was the positive drug test, and the test did not follow the standards set forth by the federal government.  Since the employer did not collect a split urine specimen, it cannot be assured that the positive result came from an untainted sample.

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