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Can I be fired for using medical marijuana?

a prescription for medical marijuana
An employer is free to fire or take other adverse action against an employee who uses marijuana at work or shows up under its influence. Shutterstock

My wife and I are over 60, and we both have conditions that are treated with medical marijuana. We both work at companies that do random drug tests. Can we be fired if we get tested and cannabis is detected?

It depends. Even though cannabis is legal in New York, an employer is free to fire or take other adverse action against an employee who uses marijuana at work or shows up under its influence — even if taken to treat a medical condition. The understanding is that marijuana use to address a health condition must occur when you are off the clock and at intervals that allow you to work when you are not under the influence. The complication is that cannabis can be detected for weeks or months after use. However, as a certified medical marijuana patient, you are classified as disabled under New York law and therefore a member of a protected class. As such, your employer must engage in a good faith interactive process to assess your needs and see if there’s a way to accommodate your use of medical marijuana that does not impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Someone on my staff who works remotely has a second full-time job. I discovered his LInkedIn profile, and he has two current full-time roles listed. When I confronted him, he said that I’ve been happy with his performance, so why does it matter if he can juggle both? Can I make him quit his other job or fire him if he doesn’t?

You can fire him for stupidity. No one believes that they can work two full-time jobs simultaneously without telling the employers and think it is OK. He didn’t ask, he didn’t tell, but he put it on LinkedIn! You can require that he give up the other job or lose this one, or you can simply fire him. I’m not sure what he does or how long this has been going on, but I’m curious that you didn’t notice any impact on his performance or availability. Many companies have policies that state employees may not engage in other work while with the company, which is going to be more important as more employees work remotely and it is harder to keep tabs on how they are spending their time.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. Hear Greg Weds. at 9:35 a.m. on iHeartRadio 710 WOR with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. E-mail: [email protected] Follow: GoToGreg.com and on
Twitter: @GregGiangrande