Proposed law could change marijuana drug tests in Illinois workplaces

Proposed law could change marijuana drug tests in Illinois workplaces

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Andre Burson stands outside his apartment in Berwyn on July 7, 2021. Burson was an electrical substation operator for ComEd before a drug test found cannabis in his system and led to his dismissal.

After years working successfully as an electrical substation operator for ComEd, Andre Burson said, he failed a marijuana drug test.

Burson said he only used cannabis after work, never on the job, but was forced to pass more tests in the months after that to prove he was clean. He said he did so, but one day, his sample was considered contaminated. He was asked to have someone watch him give a urine sample, which he said he reflexively refused. Two weeks later, records show, he was fired.

“It was devastating. It still is,” Burson said. “My job was my life. I talked to lawyers, but nobody wants to touch it.”

Burson’s experience is hardly unique. Nearly 55,000 workplace drug policy violations were reported last year to the U.S. Department of Transportation alone. The pace of violations increased by 17% from June last year to the same month this year.

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