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Colo. supports employers' zero tolerance policy


Colorado Supreme Court supports zero tolerance drug policy for employers. Marijuana and employment has been a hot topic for some time, especially since the legalization by several states. The courts have weighed in again in favor of the employer, this time deciding that after-hours medical marijuana use is just cause for firing. There was no evidence of impairment at work, but the employee failed the standard drug test which is supported by federal law. Importantly, Colorado’s law states that employers may still follow a zero tolerance drug use policy. For more, see Lexology’s article at

[h2]7.1.2015 update on medical marijuana use[/h2]

The name of the case is Coats v. Dish Networkand the recent commentary on the case emphasizes how important it is for employers to understand the drug policies of both their state and the federal government. Colorado courts could come down on the side of the employer in this case because the state law did not clarify the word “lawful” in terms of lawful activities protected in an employees’ off time. However, as the Hunton & Williams, LLC writer points out, after hours medical marijuana use is protected in several states that permit medical marijuana but prohibit recreational marijuana, including Delaware, Arizona and Minnesota.

It is increasingly important to fully understand the drug use policies of your state to protect your business and your employees’ rights.

Get “Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Drug Testing”, which provides information for employers on drug testing, how it is done, what information employers can receive, and which policies can benefit employers most. 

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