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Fired on his day off, MS victim challenges pot-based dismassal - Denver

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 26th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Colorado Court of Appeals must soon decide if it was legal for Dish Network to fire an employee who smoked medically prescribed marijuana while off duty.

DENVER, CO (Catholic Online) - Brandon Coats says he was fired after testing positive for marijuana during a company test but that there is no evidence he was impaired on the job.

Coats says his use of the drug was legal based on a prescription from a doctor. Coats has MS and uses the drug to fight symptoms of the disease.

The case boils down to if a business has the ability to fire an employee who does something legal while off the clock.

Several businesses have a zero-tolerance drug policy. Other agencies, such as religious employers, may have morality clauses in their contracts.

The case is now more prominent owing to the state's Amendment 64, which allows limited possession and use of marijuana by adults.

While some activities are certainly legal and outside of an employer's purview, attorneys for Dish Network argue that because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, it remains within their right to dismiss an employee who consumes the drug at any time.

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