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Does an Employer’s Drug-Free Workplace Policy Trump an Employee’s Use of Medical Marijuana to Treat Medical Conditions That May Qualify as a Disability?

Does an employer’s drug-free workplace policy trump an employee’s use of medical marijuana to treat medical conditions that may qualify as a disability? Yes, according to a recent decision by a Colorado federal judge.  In Curry v. MillerCoors, Inc., Judge John Kane rejected a terminated employee’s claim that his employer discriminated against him on the basis of his disability when it discharged him for testing positive for marijuana.  Despite the employee’s claim that he used marijuana legally to treat his medical conditions, the Court found that it was lawful for the company to terminate the employee under its drug-free workplace policy.  The Court also rejected the employee’s claim that his termination violated Colorado’s lawful activities statute, relying on the recent Colorado Court of Appeals in Coats v. Dish Network LLC, which held that because marijuana use remains illegal under federal law, an employee’s use of medical marijuana is not a “lawful activity” under the state law.

Learn more about how new laws and rulings in Colorado and elsewhere will affect businesses large and small.  From marijuana and social media to credit reports and arbitration agreements, employers need to adapt their policies to stay compliant and minimize liability.  

Experienced labor and employment lawyers Jeffrey T. Johnson, Esq., of Holland & Hart LLP and Todd J. McNamara, Esq., of McNamara Roseman & Kazmierski LLC will present “Advising Your Business Client on Employment Law – Recent Developments”at the Business Law Institute on October 16, 2013.

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