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

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

Only a few countries have joined in to protect employees’ rights in this regard. Michigan is not one of them, and cannabis users are regularly and arbitrarily fired because of this unfair standard. Moreover, although the discretion of discrimination remains with employees, these dismissals are often treated as a ’cause’, depriving workers of the unemployment benefits they themselves paid by deducting wages.

If this sounds completely unfair to you, you are not the only one.

Michigan AG supports the compensation in a consolidated appeal

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed an amicus brief on August 9 with the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission. In his statement, Nessel claims that a person fired for using marijuana outside the workplace still qualifies for unemployment benefits and does not lose that right.

The short description addresses three different cases, which are grouped together as a single issue before the Commission.

The question is whether an adult employee should be deprived of unemployment benefits if he or she is fired solely for using marijuana lawfully during his or her personal time. It does not weigh in cases where it has been used in the workplace or in the workplace, or if it is alleged that this harms the employee during working hours.

“Personal freedom for consumption and cultivation”

Nessel’s position states that voters in Michigan legalized recreational marijuana in 2018, asserting the right of an employee to maintain unemployment benefits if that is the only reason for dismissal.

The short text states in part: “People have reserved for themselves the personal freedom to consume and cultivate marijuana, and the state cannot deprive a person of unemployment benefits simply to engage in this legal activity. Employers still generally retain the ability to hire and fire, but Michigan employees should have no doubt that their legal, non-official conduct will leave them without unemployment benefits if the employer exercises that ability. Arguments to the contrary depend on outdated understandings of marijuana, which the people of Michigan have rejected once and for all.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 can be punished or denied a right or privilege solely for the legal use of marijuana, and employers cannot control the privacy of their employees by calling the legal use of marijuana outside working hours “misconduct.” .


A copy of the full text of amicus is online. Further information on cases before the Commission is also available online.

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