Labor & Employment

Worker fired for medical marijuana use takes his case to Colorado Supreme Court

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The Colorado Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Sept. 30 in a suit filed by a fired customer service representative who uses medical marijuana to control painful spasms he has suffered since he was paralyzed in a car crash.

The worker, Brandon Coats, was fired after a drug test. He argues his job at Dish Network is protected by a Colorado law that bars companies from firing workers for legal, off-duty activities, the New York Times reports.

“It wasn’t like I was getting high on the job,” Coats told the Times. “I would smoke right before I go to bed, and that little bit would help me get through my days.”

Dish Network, on the other hand, argues that marijuana is still illegal under federal law and that it had the right to fire Coats.

Workers like Coats have not succeeded in the courts, even in Colorado where the drug is now legal for recreational use, the Times says. Coats lost his intermediate appeal in a 2-1 decision. Twenty-three states permit medical or recreational marijuana, yet many companies continue to prohibit employees from using the drug.

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