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Fired for recreational LEGAL marijuana use outside of work.

(Washington State)

Last year, on a random (not performance related) I failed with THC in my system. I was given a written notice that I signed stating I would be terminated if it was in my system again. After that I stopped smoking for several months.

Then, i502 passed making recreational use of marijuana legal and according to the handbook that was redone after the law passed it was specified that use during company time or functions was not allowed. After reading the drug policy it sounded as if it was worded so as long as you didn't do it at work or work functions it was ok, similar to alcohol. In February I was given another random (non performance related)and since the law passed I thought occasional at home marijuana use was ok so I started smoking again. I was fired from my employer for testing positive for THC on a random drug test that had nothing to do with my performance. I worked an office job and the revised employee handbook specified no use in the workplace or work functions. They are fighting my unemployment pretty hard and I was just sent a denial letter. I feel this is discrimination since I choose marijuana over alcohol. The main reason I was given from the phone interview was that I signed a paper that said I wouldn't come up positive again but from what I have read, my employer wasn't federally funded so I would think they would have to follow state laws & regulations, not federal. I have pretty
much given up at this point until I stumbled across this website. Fingers crossed :/



You do know I'm not a lawyer .. right? So, anything I might tell you here is just a discussion about getting unemployment for a work related situation with the details I'm provided.


First, I don't see anything in what you told me that sounds like discrimination.

However, there's going to be a lot of legal issues swirling around even unemployment insurance benefits, now that marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington .. and not just for medical use, but recreational use.

Problem is, marijuana, unlike alcohol is still illegal at the federal level and the majority of the rest of the states.

And lastly, a place of employment is not a democracy, but a private sector business where an employer has every right to control employees with their own reasonable rules and policies.

But, you did mention the employer redoing their policy after the passage of 1502. This alone causes me to believe that any legitimate appeal argument you may have, would revolve around the fact the new policy became the controlling factor regarding your discharge and if so, it could not of been work related misconduct. Seems to me, the new policy would of naturally negated the impact of a written warning given prior to the new policy that changed a certain portion of the terms and conditions of employment going forward .. at least this would be my theory.

Hope you have a copy of the employer's new policy.

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Problems with legalizing marijuana already in the news.
by: Chris

Just notice an article about a Colorado appeal court setting a precedent regarding legal off duty marijuana use being good cause to terminate employment.

The court is using federal law because federal law still counts the activity of smoking pot .. as illegal. Of course, I had to read it in a blog called Employers' Lawyers

Of course the article states the obvious as well. We haven't heard the final word on this and likely won't for years as it also looks as if voters .. not state legislatures are actually setting a trend of thumbing the popular vote in the face of politicians that don't listen otherwise.

Too honest I guess... :(
by: Anonymous

I didn't keep a copy only because they were so adamant on getting their handbook back I thought it would be a bad idea. Everybody has told me (since then) that I should have made a copy and I have been kicking myself for not doing that. :/

Request a copy from the employer. If they don't let you have one or give you the wrong one .. ask a former co-worker. If that doesn't work .. request a subpoena be issued for it.

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