The Colorado Supreme Court has recently ruled that employees with the legal right to smoke marijuana are not entitled to have their jobs back if they test positive for drug use and are fired.
This decision has far-reaching implications throughout the nation, especially for motorcoach companies that operate in states with legalized pot smoking. The verdict confirmed what CDL holders, which includes school bus drivers, already know — despite voter approval of recreational marijuana use, lighting up has dire consequences.
In a case brought by a man who was sacked for failing his drug test, the highest court in the Centennial State found that employees are not protected from a company’s zero-tolerance policy against drug use.
“Employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected,” the court said in a brief statement.
The man, a quadriplegic issued a medical marijuana license to control a variety of ailments, argued that his nightly activities did not infringe on his work as he had an outstanding performance record.
He brought the lawsuit against his former company citing Colorado’s lawful off-duty activities law, which protects employees from firing for engaging in legal behaviors outside of work.
The company in the case claimed the former employee violated its zero-tolerance policy and was treated in the same manner as person who showed up on the job drunk. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of the company, stating that these lawful activities protected by the statute only refer to ones that are lawful under both state and federal law.
While the medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal in a number of states, few jurisdictions offer explicit protection for users. Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana on all levels in 2012.