A Lawsuit Asks Whether Taking CBD Oil Is Protected Under The Americans With Disabilities Act

A woman with multiple sclerosis took CBD oil that was recommended by her doctor. Then she lost her job.

By Michael MarksMarch 10, 2020 3:10 pm,

Last year, Melanie Farr, a drug counselor in San Antonio, began taking CBD oil. Farr has multiple sclerosis, and she told the San Antonio Express-News that CBD helped alleviate her symptoms. Then she failed a drug test, and was fired by her employer, Management and Training Corporation.

Farr failed the test because even though CBD products are widely and legally available, these cannabis derivatives likely contain at least a trace of THC – the chemical that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. That tiny amount apparently cost Farr her job. She has since filed a lawsuit against her former employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. She claims that since her employer refused to let her take CBD, she wasn’t given a reasonable accommodation for her condition.

Michelle MacLeod is an employment lawyer based in Dallas. She says that under the ADA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who have a disability. Farr told her employer about her use of CBD oil, which her doctor had recommended.

“Her argument here is that they should have reasonably accommodated her need to take this CBD, instead of terminating her,” MacLeod says.

She says it isn’t clear whether taking CBD oil would be judged to be a reasonable accommodation.

“I do think this is a good test case,” MacLeod says, “because it’s really clear that she does have a disability.”

MacLeod says the fact that a doctor recommended CBD oil makes Farr’s case stronger.

People who take CBD but do not have a recognized disability would be on far shakier ground when it comes to a failed drug test in the workplace, MacLeod says.


Written by Shelly Brisbin.