Can sick Californians be fired for smoking pot?

  • Share
  • Read Later

marijuana.gif
No smoking at work. Or at home.

True or false:

Californians are permitted to grow and possess marijuana if a doctor says they need it for medicinal purposes.

True! A 1996 “compassionate use” law makes pot legal for those whose health is aided by its use.

True or false:

Private employers in California can fire you for using marijuana, even if you do so with a doctor’s note.

Also true! Says Hot Document in Slate today:

Because of “well-documented problems” of absenteeism, low productivity, and physical injury, employers exercise their legal right to test workers and, if results are positive for illegal substances, to deny them employment.

Case example, involving a vet, no less:

Veteran Gary Ross was badly injured while serving in the U.S. Air Force and became eligible for government disability benefits. He suffers chronic pain, which is eased by physician-recommended marijuana treatment. In 2001, Sacramento-based RagingWire Telecommunications hired Ross, but when his pre-employment drug test came back positive for THC, the company quickly fired him. Ross sued, arguing that he was not consuming marijuana on the job and that state fair-employment laws required “reasonable accommodation” for his disability. Last week, the California Supreme Court upheld the dismissal, noting that the compassionate use law does not “require employers to accommodate marijuana” (see excerpts of the court’s affirmation below and on the following five pages).

0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest