Zero Tolerance Drug Policy

medical-marijuanaThe Colorado State Supreme Court ruled 6-0 on June 15, 2015 that a employee testing positive for marijuana can be fired and will not get his job back.

The employer, Dish Network, has a “zero tolerance” drug and alcohol policy. The employee is a medical marijuana patient. The court ruled in favor of Dish Network. You can read the news article here.

With this ruling, Colorado is the fourth state that has ruled against medical marijuana patients that were fired for using marijuana. It did not matter that the employee was using marijuana on his own time. California, Washington and Montana courts have ruled the same.

However, with 23 states and Washington, DC voting for medical marijuana and 4 states along with DC leagalizing recreational marijuana  we are wondering how soon before the laws are changed.

An article in US News & World Report by Steve Nelson gives us a rundown of the Federal changes that are on the horizon for medical marijuana. Read the article here. 

This ruling does not pertain to federally regulated safety sensitive jobs such as train engineers, pilots or truck and bus drivers.

If you have a drug and alcohol policy for your non-regulated employees, you may want to address “medical marijuana” or change your policy to a Zero Tolerance policy. Its not a bad idea to re-visit your company policy to see if it covers medical or recreational marijuana. As an employer you have the option of having a policy the excludes marijuana from testing. That is, your drug test could include Amphetamines, Opiates, Cocaine and PCP but does not test for marijuana. For non-regulated employees you have the option to customize testing panels and cut-off levels.

Compliance Associates, Inc. has over 20 years of experience writing zero and non-zero policies and setting up testing programs. Call us or email us through our site and let us help you.