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Changes in drug laws open door for discrimination suits

Many employers legally require compliance with drug testing policies. Government jobs and other Colorado companies often require a drug test before a certain applicant is officially hired. However, changes in drug laws in a number of states, including Colorado, have opened the door for employees to technically test positive for drugs and not be committing any crime. This slippery slope pertaining to drug laws and usage has prompted discrimination suits to crop up.

While marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, its use for medicinal purposes is legal in a number of states. Drug policies at certain workplaces may still forbid its usage and use a positive test result as a means for dismissal. However, it could possibly be seen as discriminatory to fire someone using it as medically prescribed.

Recently in Colorado, a 57-year-old man was fired when he tested positive for marijuana. He had a license to use it for health reasons, and also claimed he never used it on company time. The man filed a discrimination suit against his employer because of this dismissal.

Employers may soon have to adjust or modify their policies pertaining to drug use as the law changes and more Colorado residents turn to medicinal marijuana as a means of treatment for various conditions or illnesses. While any discrimination suit can be challenging and difficult to prove, knowing the current laws and regulations that may affect your particular case may be helpful. Also, it is advised any employee be fully aware of the regulations and policies that their employer currently follows or adheres to.

Source: Chicago Tribune, Illinois medical marijuana tests workplace drug policies, Ameet Sachdev, Oct. 27, 2013

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