Jump to content

Mich. Appeals Court To Decide Whether Workers Fired Over Medical Marijuana Get Jobless Pay

Recommended Posts

DETROIT — The Michigan appeals court has agreed to hear two cases to determine whether someone fired for using medical marijuana still can collect unemployment benefits from the state.


Judges in Ingham and Kent counties have reversed decisions of a state agency and ruled in favor of two people who sought benefits after being dismissed. But the attorney general's office argues that the 2008 medical marijuana law protects people from criminal prosecutions, not from adverse rulings in civil disputes such as jobless pay.


State law "recognizes that an employer has a valid interest in maintaining a drug-free workplace," the state said in a court filing. "Thus workers who are discharged for a positive drug test are disqualified from receiving benefits."


The appeals court has agreed to hear appeals from the state in the case of a forklift driver in Grand Rapids and a hospital employee in Charlotte, southwest of Lansing. The issue isn't whether an employer can fire a worker for medical marijuana use. Federal courts, in a case involving a Wal-Mart employee, already have said that Michigan businesses have that authority.


Rather, these cases deal with unemployment pay, a critical safety net for someone between jobs.


Jenine Kemp, a CT scan technician, was fired at Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital after a drug test in 2011 revealed marijuana.

She said she uses marijuana in food outside work hours to relieve chronic pain from lupus, which attacks joints, and other ailments. Kemp has a state-issued card.


"She never showed any signs of intoxication or being under the influence. There was no indication she was using marijuana on the job," her attorney, Eric Misterovich, said in an interview. "The only complaints came when she talked about medical marijuana. That's what prompted the drug test."

Ingham County Judge William Collette ruled in favor of Kemp earlier this year, saying she used marijuana in a legal way and can't be disqualified from getting unemployment benefits.


Rick Braska worked for Challenge Manufacturing Co. His use of marijuana was detected during a routine test while he was being checked for an ankle injury in 2010. He was registered to use marijuana for back problems, but his bosses said the drug violated company policy and he was fired.

"He was a good employee. There was no ill will at all," attorney Scott Stuart said.


Michigan's unemployment agency granted jobless pay, but the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission reversed. In 2012, Kent County Judge Mark Trusock overturned that decision on technical grounds.


No date has been set for arguments in the state appeals court. The attorney general's office said much is at stake, especially for employers.

Unemployment pay, the state said, is not an entitlement "for all persons involuntarily unemployed."




Link to comment
Share on other sites

why would you fire a good worker is the real question?


if you've ever worked anywhere you know that theres tons of terrible employees.

people who steal $200 from their register. people who steal merch from the store. people who spit in the food 'for fun'.

people who steal office supplies and just talk on the phone all day. employees that game the system, showing up for work late, leaving early, not showing up at all, calling in sick, doing the least and still gettin paid to do it.


yet the hard workers with mmj cards and no blemishes on their work records get instantly fired.

since michigan is an 'at will' state, why would you bother with a drug test? oh, to get out of paying unemployment.


i guess thats the 'right to work' or 'freedom to work' as they call it now, in action.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

disqualifying/upcharging schedule 1 drug users would be a "new" thing though, and I wonder if changes may be coming in the matter, as they are in unemployment, welfare.


Well you can't be "disqualified" anymore.  Will the insurance companies keep coming up with ways to charge you more, like using Schedule 1 drugs?  Yes, probably.  That's what the insurance companies do.  It's one of the reasons we should have gone to a single payer system with everyone on Medicare instead of Obamacare where the private insurance companies are still in charge.  When you take away the need for profit, you dispense with the problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The issue isn't whether an employer can fire a worker for medical marijuana use. Federal courts, in a case involving a Wal-Mart employee, already have said that Michigan businesses have that authority.


Some may know his name as Joe  AKA Wall-mart Joe i first talked to Joe back a few years ago up in Lansing we were both their for a Protest with  one our founding Fathers of this site Greg F.


The A.C.L.U and a lot of supporter from the MMMA where helping Joe as best we all could the A.C.L.U tried to keep the case from going to the Federal Court but lost that battle 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i am about tired of the AG saying that cannabis still resides under schedule 1.


there is nothing more powerful in this country than a popular vote. 


the majority have spoken.


cannabis can not be schedule one.  period and by their own definition.


if someone would just argue that in the supreme court it would be done.


by law.  we voted. 




until repealed by popular vote.


good luck ever charging me with cannabis as schedule one i would have to say.


ever heard of the constitution?  both the state and federal one?





see if we vote the color of the sky is green... and the majority of us agree... then from that day on the color of the sky is green... no matter what the science or anyone else says until one of two things happen.


first either we all vote again.

second a super majority over rules us.


i will never step aside now that i as a combat veteran know that Cannabis can and does help human beings.


and it can be grown outdoors for free.

and anyone could benefit from it.

arguably everyone would benefit from it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

......if someone could just afford to argue this point in supreme court, instead of plea bargaining........


I don't see the day that the powers with the cash will allow us to vote or argue that cash away. If that was possible, it would be done by now I believe.

The same power mongers still are making policy, and we are still voting them into office, time and time again. We fully support them with every dollar spent on the products they provide. who's fault is this really ?  we need to accept responsibility for our own actions, before we can change actions of another.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...