We would like to focus on a couple of issues of the ruling that are obvious and not so obvious. This is a long-awaited decision from the state of Colorado regarding a company’s right to fire a worker using medical marijuana in their off hours. The full judicial decision can be downloaded by clicking here Coats-v-DishNetwork Colorado supreme court ruling marijuana use
- The justices focused on the term “lawful” in Colorado’s “lawful activities statute”. Therefore employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute. (Page 1)
- One thing not highlighted in most of the articles about this case is that the employee was found to be under the current influence of marijuana while on the job.(Page 5) The fact that it was medical marijuana use didn’t affect the decision. The individual was subject to a random drug test. This is how the case got started. The employer was and remains committed to a drug-free workplace and compliance with federal law.
- If and when the federal government decides to legalize the use of marijuana, employers need to go on the offensive and treat the substance just like alcohol. What do we mean? Alcohol is a legal substance. But, that still doesn’t mean that employers have to accept the fact that an employee may be under the influence of alcohol and still be capable of performing job duties.