Medical Marijuana Court Decisions Support EmployersIn one of our posts, Laws Unclear on the Rights of Workers Who Use Medical Marijuana, I commented on a claim brought by a Massachusetts woman for wrongful discharge. In September 2014, Cristina Barbuto interviewed with California-based Advantage Sales and Marketing. During the interview process, she acknowledged using medical marijuana to treat Crohn’s disease. Despite this admission, she was hired and then summarily fired when she failed a drug test. A complaint was filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and in September 2015, suit was filed in Suffolk Superior Court.

While the outcome of the case is yet to be decided, Barbuto may have an uphill climb. On January 7, 2016, a New Mexico judge dismissed claims made by Rojerio Garcia against Tractor Supply Company. Garcia, like Barbuto, admitted use of medical marijuana during the interview process, was he hired and then terminated once he failed the drug test. Similar findings have been made in several states.

What does this mean for employers?

While it is good news, it might be wise for potential employers to share their drug policies before extending an offer of employment. Yes, the courts might side with employers, but the cost of litigation could be avoided with a prudent policy in place.

You can read more about these recent findings in Richard Meneghello’s article, Employers Secure Another Win In Medical Marijuana Battle: Three Things You Need To Know. While a few states (Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New York, and Minnesota) have anti-discrimination laws that protect employees most states—including Massachusetts—remain silent on the issue.

For more information, I suggest reading Anti-Discrimination Provisions in State Medical Marijuana Laws Raise Additional Considerations for Workplace Drug Testing.

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