In Colorado, both recreational and medical marijuana is now legal but according to a court ruling on Thursday, employers are legally allowed to fire their employees who test positive for marijuana even if it was off duty.
The Associated Press reported that the Colorado Court of Appeals found our that there is no employment protection for medical marijuana users because it is illegal federally.
"The patchwork of laws across the nation and state-federal conflict has left the issue unclear. Based on this ruling, employees who use pot in Colorado do so at their own risk. In Arizona, however, workers cannot be terminated for lawfully using medical marijuana, unless it would jeopardize an employer's federal licensing or contracts," reported the AP.
Brandon Coats, 33, is involved in the Colorado case. He was a telephone operator for Englewood, Colorado working for Dish Networks LLC. He was paralyzed in a car crash as a teenager and has been a medical marijuana patient in Colorado since 2009. When Brandon failed a company drug test he was fired in 2010.
Coats sued to get his job back and a district court judge ruled that the company was within its rights to fire him. An appeal court on Thursday upheld that ruling.
"The federal government considers marijuana an illegal and dangerous narcotic. U.S. officials have said they are considering how to respond to the legalization moves," reported Reuters.
"While we agree that the general purpose of (the worker protection law) ... is to keep an employer's proverbial nose out of an employee's off-site off-hours business ... we can find no legislative intent to extend employment protections to those engaged in activities that violate federal law," Judge Janice Davidson wrote in the majority opinion of Coats plans appeal, reported Reuters.
Coats' lawyer, Michael Evans, told Reuters the ruling was disappointing but said he will appeal the decision to the state's highest court.
Coat's lawyer, Michael Evans expressed his disappointment but said they would appeal to the state's highest court. He said to Reuters, "If someone's going to pick a fight with the federal government, it will be the state supreme court and not the court of appeals,".
© 2023 Travelers Today. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.