Proposed Colorado Legislation Could Protect Employees From Being Fired For Marijuana Use

DENVER, CO – State lawmakers in Colorado are again considering a measure that could bar employers from firing their employees for using cannabis either medically and recreationally.

According to a report by ABC Denver, House Bill 22-1152 requires employers to allow patients to use medical marijuana at the workplace during work hours without repercussions. The bill also allows employees to use marijuana recreationally during non-work hours without the threat of a drug test soon after.

The bill offers protection to people like Carolyn Edwards, a nurse anesthetist with 35 years of experience who recently lost her job due to a positive drug test.

Edwards suffers from a genetic condition that causes chronic pain, for which she treats by using a CBD product. She was placed on administrative leave and eventually fired after refusing to submit to random testing and attend a monthly drug treatment program.

In 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the DISH Network acted legally when it fired a disabled employee who used medical marijuana to treat seizures during non-work hours. That same former employee still struggles to find a job due to the publicity of his case.

There are exceptions included in the bill for professions that are dangerous by nature. However, organization like the Colorado Mining Association still have serious reservations about allowing marijuana use at the workplace.

“Mining and marijuana don’t mix. Mining, like many other professions out there, is an inherently dangerous job no matter what jobs you have in mind,” said Colorado Mining Association President, Stan Dempsey. “But you can reduce the risk of injury and death. The most important way to do that is to have a zero-tolerance drug policy.”

Dempsey believes the bill poses a serious safety risk since it is difficult to determine if an employee is under the influence of marijuana while working or if the THC remained in their system from prior use.

The bill is set to face its first hearing in the House Business and Affairs Committee sometime in the near future.

 

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