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US Judo Fighter Nick Delpopolo Blames Pot-Laced Food for Expulsion

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By Andrew Lu on August 06, 2012 4:06 PM

U.S. judo competitor Nicholas Delpopolo has been expelled from the Olympics after he tested positive for marijuana.

The American admitted he had unwittingly eaten marijuana-laced food and has waived his right to a hearing, reports BBC. Delpopolo, 23, finished seventh in the competition, so there were no medals at stake in his expulsion.

While the Olympics and team U.S.A. may not be someone's typical employer, and judo throwing may not be someone's typical job, Delpopolo's expulsion should serve as a reminder to workers everywhere what happens if you fail a drug test at work.

Generally, state laws govern when employers can drug test at work. Typically, employers can only drug test as a safety and/or business necessity or in response to suspicion of drug use. Although it varies from state to state, employees may be screened for illicit drug use under the following circumstances:

  • The employee's job poses a significant safety risk to others, or to him or herself
  • The employee was involved in a work-related incident where the use of drugs is suspected
  • Management has a reasonable suspicion that a given employee has been using illicit drugs, based on behavior or physical evidence

In addition, state and federal regulations mandate that employees in certain professions submit to regular drug testing, including airline pilots and those using heavy machinery. Also for competitive events like the Olympics, it is common-place for drug testings.

If you are caught with illegal drugs in your system at work, you risk getting disciplined or possibly even losing your job. While Nick Delpopolo getting kicked out of the Olympics for pot use may seem trivial, you have to remember that the Olympian probably trained his whole life to reach this point. So not only did Delpopolo lose his job, he also likely lost the only chance at ever performing it.

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