Federal court says termination of employee for using medical marijuana is not discriminatory
Jackson Lewis PC
August 28 2013
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A federal court in Denver has held that an employee who was fired after testing positive for marijuana was not protected by the stateÂs anti-discrimination laws, even though Colorado has legalized the use of medical marijuana. (Curry v. MillerCoors, Inc., 12-cv-02471 (JLK) (D. Colo. 2013)).
MillerCoors terminated Paul Curry after he tested positive for marijuana use during a routine drug test administered by the company. Curry, who suffers from hepatitis C and osteoarthritis, is licensed by the State of Colorado to use medical marijuana pursuant to ColoradoÂs Medical Marijuana Amendment, colloquially known as ÂAmendment 20Â.
Following his termination, Curry filed a complaint in United States District Court accusing the Chicago-based brewer of discriminating against him on the basis of his disability. According to Curry, he was terminated Âbecause of the treatment [medical marijuana] that [he] was using to manage the symptoms of his disabling medical conditions.Â Curry also claimed he was discriminated against for engaging in lawful activity and that MillerCoorsÂs drug testing policy invaded his right to privacy.
According to District Judge John Kane, however, MillerCoors was simply enforcing its long-established drug-free workplace policy. Regardless of Mr. CurryÂs medical condition, the Court held, Â[ColoradoÂs] anti-discrimination law does not extend so far as to shield a disabled employee from the implementation of his employerÂs standard policies against employee misconduct.Â
Until the feds change the laws, MJ is still very iffy.