By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If you smoke marijuana in a state where it’s legal, can you be fired for it?
When asked whether he ever smoked marijuana, President Clinton famously replied, “I never broke the laws of my country”. When pressed, he admitted that he’d been at a party where there was marijuana while he was in England, but never inhaled.
In case you may considering the same defense when you are in Colorado where marijuana use has been legalized, or actually inhaled – for medical reasons of course – in any of the seventeen states that allow medical marijuana, the “never broke the law” defense may also be met with skepticism – by your employer.
When a quadriplegic medical marijuana user in Colorado was fired from his job for testing positive for the drug even though there was no evidence he was impaired on the job, he sued his employer for wrongful termination. The Colorado Appeals Court just ruled that while Colorado law protects the man from prosecution, it doesn’t prevent his private employer from firing him even though his pot smoking was legal.
So let that be a lesson – if you find yourself in a state where your use of marijuana is not illegal, you’re still not protected from termination if you do inhale.