Justices to take up case of fired medical marijuana user
OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline)-The Washington Supreme Court will hear the case of a medical marijuana card holder who was fired after her pre-employment drug test came back positive.
The woman -- known only as Jane Roe to protect her identity -- was hired at Tele Tech Customer Care Management to provide clerical help. She was fired a week later, after her drug screening came back positive for marijuana.
Roe sued in 2006, and the Washington appeals court concluded that the state's medical marijuana law only provides a defense in criminal prosecutions but does not apply to employment-related cases.
In a June 2008 brief to the high court, the woman's attorneys said the Washington Medical Use of Marijuana Act requires employers to accommodate their employees' off-site use of medical marijuana.
"That duty of accommodation precludes the termination of an employee simply because she uses medical marijuana at home pursuant to MUMA," the brief said. "An employer must accommodate an employee's off-site use of medical marijuana unless it has specific evidence that such use interferes with her job performance or poses a significant safety risk in the workplace."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington urged the high court to hear the case involving Initiative 692, which passed in 1998 as a ballot initiative and was amended by the Washington Legislature in 2007.
The Washington Medical Use of Marijuana Act states: "Places of employment, school buses, school grounds, youth centers, and correctional facilities are not required to accommodate the on-site use of medical marijuana."
The case is JANE ROE v.TELETECH CUSTOMER CARE MANAGEMENT (COLORADO) LLC, NO. 81283-7.