Can a company fire an employee for use of legalised medical marijuana?

Employee has been told that their job would be lost upon obtaining a medical marijuana license. This is for use only outside of work, and never under any circumstance for use at work. Is this at the whim of the employer or does the employee have any legal standing?

Asked on December 13, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

It depends on specific state law. Several states with medical marijuana laws have passed laws that prohibit employers from firing medical marijuana users unless they are shown to be impaired on the job. In such states, an employer cannot fire a worker for off duty use of prescribed marijuana so long as it does not affect theirr work. However, in several other states with legalized medical marijuana laws, they specifically allow employers to fire employees for off-duty use or do not address the issue at all. In the states without a clear guidance, the courts have usually found in favor of the employer. In other words, an employer has the right to terminate an employee who tests positive for marijuana, even if they had a valid prescription and only used marijuana while off duty. At this point, you can place a call into a local employment law attorney or your state's department of labor, they can best advise further.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

It depends on specific state law. Several states with medical marijuana laws have passed laws that prohibit employers from firing medical marijuana users unless they are shown to be impaired on the job. In such states, an employer cannot fire a worker for off duty use of prescribed marijuana so long as it does not affect theirr work. However, in several other states with legalized medical marijuana laws, they specifically allow employers to fire employees for off-duty use or do not address the issue at all. In the states without a clear guidance, the courts have usually found in favor of the employer. In other words, an employer has the right to terminate an employee who tests positive for marijuana, even if they had a valid prescription and only used marijuana while off duty. At this point, you can place a call into a local employment law attorney or your state's department of labor, they can best advise further.


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