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Court Rules That Employees Can’t Be Fired For Medical Marijuana

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#1 Digger


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Posted 20 July 2017 - 03:17 PM

This week, The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that businesses can not fire employees for using medical marijuana if they have a legal prescription. Under the ruling, employees will be able to sue for handicap discrimination if they are fired for their medical marijuana use.
The ruling stated that, “Even if the accommodation of the use of medical marijuana were facially unreasonable, which it is not, the employer here still owed the plaintiff an obligation under (Massachusetts law) before it terminated her employment, to participate in the interactive process to explore with her whether there was an alternative, equally effective medication she could use that was not prohibited by the employer’s drug policy. This failure to explore a reasonable accommodation alone is sufficient to support a claim of handicap discrimination.”
Chief Justice Ralph Gants concluded that if a medical marijuana patient tests positive for the drug “an exception to an employer’s drug policy to permit its use is a facially reasonable accommodation. The fact that the employee’s possession of medical marijuana is in violation of federal law does not make it per se unreasonable as an accommodation.”
The judge said that since it is only the employee who faces legal danger under federal law, the employer can’t claim that they have a liability in the matter. If the employee happens to be using the drug at work, the employer could potentially have a case to fire them, but not if the drug is taken while the employee is off-duty.
In addition to Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, laws have also been passed in Arizona, Delaware, and Minnesota, which protect the rights of employees who have been prescribed medical marijuana.

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 09:31 AM

Ultimately, it's up to the federal lawyers to sort this all out. 

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