The Colorado Court of Appeals is considering a case that could impact employer drug policies in the wake of the state's medical marijuana law and its new Amendment 64 initiative approved by voters legalizing small amounts of marijuana use for anyone age 21 and older.
According to the Denver Post
. the case involves a Dish Network telephone operator who was fired after testing positive for marijuana even though there was no evidence of impairment. The employee happened to be a medical marijuana patient.
The employee sued the company, arguing that it's against state law for an employer to fire someone for doing something legal off-duty that does not affect work performance.
The challenge to the Colorado Lawful Off-Duty Activities statute is the first aimed at determining whether the protection extends to marijuana use that's legal in Colorado but illegal under federal law.
Some state employers worry the case could prevent them from enforcing drug policies prohibiting any use of marijuana.
"These are things that employers are definitely concerned about," Vance Knapp, a Denver attorney that specializes in employment law, told the Post. "For policy reasons, we want to make sure we have a safe workplace. And obviously, that has to be balanced against employees' rights in Amendment 64."
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