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California is one of only 20 states that authorize the use of medical marijuana. There are hundreds of thousands of people across the state who use cannabis and its related products to treat a number of severe medical conditions.
However, many patients using medical marijuana have found that their employers prohibit its use by not recognizing it as a “medical product.” In some situations, employees may be able to seek legal action against employers that do not allow them to use medical marijuana if it is prescribed by a healthcare professional. It is in your best interest to not attempt any legal action without first seeking counsel from a Los Angeles employment attorney.
Can Employees Be Fired for Using Medical Marijuana?
Although many states, including California, legalized marijuana for medical purposes, very few of these states actually protect against termination on the basis of marijuana use. California is an “at will” employment state, meaning that an employer can terminate an employee for almost any valid reason, which could include the use of medical marijuana.
Despite the provisions of the Compassionate Use Act, employers can still drug test their employees for marijuana. Some argue that testing and firing employees who use medical marijuana based on drug test results violates the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Many employers have previously, legally fired employees for medical marijuana use.
Employees Still Have Rights
It may seem that the law appears to favor employers, and that the conflict of medical marijuana use and employment in states such as California is an ongoing legal battle that could eventually lead to employees gaining more rights. However, as more states opt to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, courts and lawmakers may begin to support the rights of medical marijuana users.
For now, employees who use medical marijuana may benefit from being open with employers when accepting jobs. If employees disclose their disabilities before taking drug tests, employers may be unable to claim that they were not aware of the disability when they discover that an employee is using medical marijuana.
Regardless of the circumstances, if you were fired for using medical marijuana, you should speak with an employment and labor law attorney to find out if you should pursue legal action. Every case is different, and a lawyer can advise you on when to pursue a lawsuit against an employer for discrimination.
What Can I Do If I Was Fired for Using Medical Marijuana?
You have rights as an employee. When these rights are violated, our legal team stands ready to help you. For a free consultation, call our Los Angeles employment lawyers at (310) 273-3180.