Earlier today, Colorado’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that allows companies to fire an employee if they fail a drug test. Even if the marijuana is legally obtained for medical reasons.
The landmark case involved Brandon Coats. Coats was a former Dish Network employee who was promptly fired after testing positive for THC in 2010. Coats, who is a quadriplegic, was in possession of a medical marijuana license that allowed him to obtain cannabis. As a result, he used to treat violent muscle spasms with.
Dish Network confirms that Coats never used weed while on the clock. Yet management fired him anyway due to their company’s zero tolerance policy.
According to Newsweek, “Colorado law says employees cannot be fired for legal activities that happen outside work”. The Colorado Constitution, however, specifically states that companies do not have to alter their policies to compensate for employees who use marijuana.
The Supreme Court sided today with Dish Network, stating that because marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, Coats’ use could not be protected under Colorado law.
When asked about the ruling, Coats said, “Although I’m very disappointed today, I hope that my case has brought the issue of use of medical marijuana and employment to light.”
Colorado isn’t the only state to implement this ruling. Courts in California, Montana, and Washington state have also ruled against employees in similar cases.