Employers Will Not Assume the Burden of Drug Debilitated Workers
Brandon Coats failed a drug test in 2010 while working for Dish Network. He had a medical marijuana card and believed his firing was unnecessary. After the case went to trial court and the Colorado Court of Appeals, it was ruled that workers can be fired for using marijuana even when off-duty.
This case has serious implications for the marijuana industry. Even though the case centers around medical marijuana the court’s decision extends to employees who use the drug recreationally. This case serves to remind workers that courts are likely to uphold the employer’s company drug policy. Most companies enforce a zero-tolerance drug policy. Workplace safety, company reputation, and errors caused by impaired workers are just some of the reasons why most employers will not tolerate drug use. The potential for problems and financial risks increases for employers who keep pot users on payroll.
We notice that courts in California, Montana and Washington state also ruled against workers using the medical marijuana excuse.
“This is a victory for every community that does not want to accommodate pot shops and every business owner that cares about safety and health,” remarked Kevin Sabet, a former Obama Administration advisor who now serves as President of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), a group opposed to legalization. These victories discredit the myth that employers should assume the burden of drug incapacitated employees.