Medical-marijuana users on uncertain ground in workplaces
Last year, Dorian Beth Wenzel, a Manitou Springs writer and arthritis sufferer, penned a letter to a local newspaper that disclosed her status as a medical-marijuana patient.The paper printed the letter, and soon afterward Wenzel found herself face-to-face with the human-resources director of the nonprofit organization she works for. Wenzel’s office, her HR director told her, is a drug-free workplace.”It is kind of scary when your HR department is telling you that you could be fired,” Wenzel said. “And it’s like, ‘Why?’ “To Colorado’s already-vexing cannabis conundrum, add yet another riddle: Are medical-marijuana patients protected from discipline under their employers’ anti-drug policies?In the past week, two other stories that pose such a question have emerged:• In the first, an Idaho Springs high school teacher and football coach resigned from the school after being charged with smoking marijuana on school grounds, even though he said he was a legal patient.• The second involves a Denver city employee who failed a routine drug test taken after an on-duty car accident. The employee said medical-marijuana use accounted for the positive test.Can an employer punish someone for doing something that is constitutionally protected?”This issue is up in the air right now,” said Vance Knapp, a Denver lawyer with Sherman & Howard who deals in employment law. “It hasn’t been litigated through the courts.”Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14261008.
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