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Michigan Court Of Appeals Rules Medical Marijuana Users Discharged For Positive Drug Tests May Still Be Eligible For Unemployment Benefits


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Michigan Court of Appeals Rules Medical Marijuana Users Discharged for Positive Drug Tests May Still Be Eligible for Unemployment Benefits
Authors: William Vincent, Michael Chichester, and Nancy Delogu

In a published decision that may surprise employers, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that an employee terminated for testing positive for marijuana but who possesses a medical marijuana card1 is not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits so long as the employee’s use of marijuana is in accordance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (“MMMA”), MCL 333.26421, et seq.  In Braska v. Challenge Manufacturing Co., No. 313932,2 the court held that when an employee is terminated as a result of a positive drug test caused by the legal use of medical marijuana, the denial of unemployment benefits constitutes a “penalty” in violation of the MMMA’s immunity clause.  The court avoided the issue of whether the MMMA governs the conduct of private employers by finding that a decision made by the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (“MCAC”) involves only state action.3  In the absence of guidance from any Michigan appellate court, employers may continue to rely on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 695 F.3d 428 (6th Cir. 2012), which concluded that the MMMA does not regulate the conduct of private employers.

 

- See more at: http://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/michigan-court-appeals-rules-medical-marijuana-users-discharged-positi?utm_source=Mondaq&utm_medium=syndication&utm_campaign=View-Original#sthash.0LI5ryVR.dpuf

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Nope, this is unemployment, not workers comp.  The employer makes payments to the state that are largely based on claim history.  The state pays unemployment to the discharged card holder, and then increases the rate it charges the employer until it recovers what it paid out. Should make them think twice, because they will pay either way, if this ruling survives our Republican form of government (Supremes, Governor, Senate and House).

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