An article published on May 23 in the Boston Globe (Woman fights medical marijuana firing) demonstrates potential dilemmas that companies operating in the Commonwealth may face.
A 34 year old marketing professional was fired the day after she was hired despite the fact that she acknowledged in her job interview that she legally used of marijuana for the treatment of Crohn’s disease. The company’s human resource representative told her that she was being terminated for testing positive for marijuana and cited that the company follows federal, not state laws in this regard. The worker has filed suit with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).
Some states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana allow employers to fire employees who are authorized the use of the drug, while other states prohibit it. Massachusetts is silent on the issue, but that might change soon. In any case, companies with federal contracts must follow federal laws with respect to marijuana use regardless of state law.
The employer in this case might face potential exposure if it is confirmed that the worker did indeed acknowledge use of the drug during her interview. A ruling by MCAD might bring some clarity to the issue, but until we recommend that employers should have a clear policy with respect to the use of medical marijuana, given that the law is presently unclear in Massachusetts.
For more information on this topic, please reach out to Genesis HR Solutions at AskUs@genesishrsolutions.com or 800-367-8367.
Genesis HR Solutions is the premier PEO provider for Massachusetts based businesses.