My husband has his medical card to smoke pot through the State of Washington. He was asked to take a drug test and failed due to the pot. His employer told his results to tenants of the apartment complex that he worked for. He did not lose his job but quit due to her telling people about his results. Is this not protected some way by HIPAA regulations? Can she get in trouble for this legally?
Ann Kiernan replies:
Under the 2011 amendments to Washington’s Medical Use of Cannabis Act, employers may establish drug-free work policies and are not required to accommodate the medical use of cannabis if they have such a policy. So, if your husband’s employer was a drug-free workplace, he could have been fired legally for violating that policy.
Unless your husband’s employer is self-insured or is a health plan, the HIPAA privacy protections are probably not applicable. But he certainly has other privacy rights under Washington law, and I urge him to consult a local employment lawyer to find out more.
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