Now that marijuana use is legal in Colorado, can employees be fired for lighting up a joint in their free time?
That was the question before the Colorado Supreme Court this term and on Monday it came to a conclusion: Yes, you can get fired.
The case was brought by Brandon Coats, who sued Dish Network after it fired him for using his “state-licensed … medical marijuana at home during nonworking hours.”
Coats said when Dish Network fired him, the company violated a state law that bars an employer from firing any worker over any “lawful” outside-of-work activity.
The court decided that the definition of “lawful” was broader than state law. It concluded:
“The term ‘lawful’ as it is used in section 24-34-402.5 is not restricted in any way, and we decline to engraft a state law limitation onto the term. Therefore, an activity such as medical marijuana use that is unlawful under federal law is not a ‘lawful’ activity under section 24-34-402.5.”
In other words, Coats was legally fired.
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