If you are following the 2016 elections, you may have noticed that California Proposition 64 is seeking to legalize marijuana. Proposition 64 has provisions that specify employers can still drug-test and make employment decisions in regard to marijuana use. However, California has an existing law regarding marijuana use that sometimes creates issues in the workplace. There are good reasons to be worried about being fired for using legal marijuana.
Under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, patients can seek a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana. The Compassionate Use Act does afford greater defense to eligible patients against criminal charges from state law enforcement. However, having a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana may not be enough to protect you against your employer.
Over the last 20 years, employees who used marijuana have been reprimanded by their employers. This is because marijuana remains a controlled substance (Schedule I), and is therefore illegal under federal law. Due to its Schedule I status, federal law does not recognize marijuana as having any medicinal value. Employers can take action against employees using the plant. Recent court cases in California have affirmed this position.
In 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled in Ross v. RagingWire Telecommunications that employers can require pre-employment drug screening and could terminate employees for using marijuana.
Can Workers Be Fired for Taking Medication?
Even if you are treating a condition that qualifies as a disability, employers can still fire you for using marijuana. However, they might not be able to fire you for using a legally prescribed drug to treat a medical condition. Employees who are fired for taking legal prescriptions should consult with an employment law attorney to review possible legal options.
The Los Angeles employment law attorneys at the Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob can help workers who have been wrongfully terminated.