Jeffrey Underhill helps client score a victory at the Minnesota Court of Appeals in the case of Jones v. Green Bay Packaging, Inc


Posted on 08/27/2015

Jeffrey Underhill successfully argued for summary judgment on behalf of Green Bay Packaging against claims it violated the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in Work Place Act (“DATWPA”).  In Jones v. Green Bay Packaging, Inc., 2015 WL 4715537 (Minn. App. 2015), the court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision.  An employee injured on the job tested positive for marijuana.  Green Bay Packaging prepared a conditional reinstatement agreement in which it agreed to reinstate the employee if he were assessed for chemical dependency and completed treatment if recommended at one of several providers identified in the conditional reinstatement agreement.  The employee requested to be assessed and if needed attend treatment at a provider not initially identified in the conditional reinstatement agreement.  Green Bay Packaging approved the request, the employee signed the agreement, and he was assessed at the facility of his choosing.  Thereafter, the employee refused to attend outpatient treatment at the facility he chose and instead stated that he wished to attend a different program because it met fewer days each week and was closer to his home.  Green Bay Packaging terminated the employee after he refused to attend treatment at the facility he elected.  Siding with Green Bay Packaging and agreeing with the trial court’s analysis, the court of appeals held that the plain language of DATWPA required only that Green Bay Packaging give the employee the opportunity to participate in a treatment program, and not the opportunity to participate in additional programs if the program agreed upon was not to the employee’s liking.  Further, the court of appeals held that the statute allowed Green Bay Packaging to discharge the employee because he refused to attend or complete the program he chose to attend.

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