Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Jun 24, 2011

WASHINGTON: No duty to accommodate medical marijuana

Drug and Alcohol 

In a victory for employers, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed that authorized use of medical marijuana under state law doesn’t excuse an employee’s positive drug test.

In a victory for employers, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed that authorized use of medical marijuana under state law doesn’t excuse an employee’s positive drug test. Employers in Washington are therefore free to enforce company policies that provide for discipline or termination of workers who test positive for marijuana, regardless of whether the use of marijuana is authorized under state law. In this case, a new hire who was fired after a positive drug test had sued her employer, saying state law protected off-duty use of medical marijuana. The court decided that Washington’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act protects qualifying individuals, caregivers, and physicians from criminal prosecution under state law. It doesn’t provide any employment protections, however (Roe v. Teletech Customer Care Management, Wash, June 2011).

 

Tips: Applicants and employees may not be aware that having a medical marijuana card doesn’t shield them from consequences under your drug testing policy. Make sure that you communicate this so there isn’t any confusion. For more information, see our Legal Guide, “Medical Marijuana in the Workplace” (3405).
 

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