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Michigan AG: People fired for marijuana use eligible for unemployment benefits

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When adult cannabis use becomes legal in most parts of the country, people are still subjected to drug tests and licensed for cannabis use when it does not affect their work, even when outside working hours. . People have long argued that this is blatant discrimination at work.

Only a few states have intervened to protect the rights of employees in this regard. Michigan is not one of them, and cannabis users are routinely and arbitrarily fired because of this unfair standard. On the other hand, even if the discretion to discriminate firmly against employees, these dismissals are often treated as “for cause,” which deprives workers of the unemployment benefits they have paid, themselves, for wage deductions. .

If it seems completely unfair to you, you are not the only one.

Michigan AG supports the benefit in consolidated appeal

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a friend letter on Aug. 9 before the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission. In his presentation, Nessel argues that a person licensed for marijuana use outside of the workplace is still eligible for unemployment benefits and does not lose that right.

The summary deals with three different cases that have been consolidated as a number only before the Commission.

The question is whether an adult employee should be disqualified from unemployment benefits if he or she is only licensed to use marijuana legally during his or her personal time. It does not apply to cases where she has been employed on the job or in the workplace, or if she has been accused of compromising the employee during working hours.

“Personal freedom to consume and cultivate”

Nessel’s position indicates that Michigan voters will legalize recreational marijuana in 2018 as affirming an employee’s right to withhold unemployment benefits if that is the only reason they were fired.

The summary states in part: “The People have reserved their personal freedom to consume and grow marijuana, and the State cannot deprive the individual of unemployment benefits for the mere involvement in this legal activity. Employers generally maintain their ability to hire and fire at will, but Michigan employees will not have to wonder if their legal conduct, out of service, will leave them without unemployment benefits if an employer exercises such a capability. they are based on an old understanding of marijuana that the People of Michigan has rejected, once and for all. ”

“People spoke loud and clear when they voted in 2018 to legalize marijuana once and for all,” Nessel said. No one over the age of 21 may be penalized or denied a right or privilege solely for the legal use of marijuana, and employers cannot control the privacy of their employees by calling it “legal” use outside of the hours of “bad conduct” work. ”


A copy of the full amicus brief is online. Further background on the cases before the Commission is also online.

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