On June 11, 2008, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Emerald Steel Fabricators, Inc. v. Bureau of Labor and Industries. The court reviewed and affirmed an order from the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) holding that Emerald Steel Fabricators had failed to reasonably accommodate its employee's disability when it discharged him because of his medical marijuana use.
The employer argued that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not protect current marijuana use because marijuana is a controlled substance and illegal under federal law and therefore Oregon employers should not be required to accommodate medical marijuana for any disabled employee.
The court did not rule on these arguments, applying a technicality involving whether the argument was properly presented to BOLI. But by upholding BOLI's final order, the court has once again put employers on notice that they must be careful in terminating any disabled employee simply because he or she is using marijuana pursuant to a prescription.