High Today, Gone Tomorrow: Colo. Appeals Court Says OK to Fire Employee Who Uses Pot Off-Duty

It’s legal in Colorado to smoke marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, but that doesn’t mean an emnployee can’t be fired for marijuana use, even when it’s off-duty.

The Colorado Court of Appeals last Thursday upheld an employee’s firing for testing positive for using marijuana for medicinal purposes. The court determined that there is no employment protection for medical marijuana users in the state because the drug remains barred by the federal government.

Colorado, like many states, has a statute that protects employers from taking adverse action against employees because of off-duty activities. But that didn’t help the employee avoid discharge in this case.

“While we agree that the general purpose of (the Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute) is to keep an employer’s proverbial nose out of an employee’s off-site off-hours business,” Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janice Davidson wrote in the opinion, “we can find no legislative intent to extend employment protection to those engaged in activities that violate federal law.”

Here’s the court’s ruling in full.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: