MI Attorney General: Marijuana Use Should Not Affect Unemployment Benefits
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is standing by the law.
Nessel addressed the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission about personal marijuana use and receiving unemployment benefits. This is in regard to three cases that have been presented before the commission after each case involved someone getting fired for using marijuana, but on their own time.
...meaning marijuana was not used on the job or on the employers' premises, nor did it impair the employee during work hours.
In her amicus brief, Nessel reminded the commission that personal use and cultivation of marijuana was legalized in 2018, and even though, employers have the right to fire someone for it, the state cannot withhold people receiving benefits. She went on to say,
Nobody over 21 can be penalized or denied any right or privilege solely for legally using marijuana, and employers cannot control their employees' private lives by calling the legal use of marijuana outside of work hours 'misconduct'.
The parties involved happened in:
- April 2019 - a maintenance worker was required to take a drug test after suffering an on-the-job injury. His test came back positive for marijuana. No evidence was found that he had any substance on him or was under the influence during work hours.
- June 2019 - an HVAC employee was fired after causing minor damage to a vehicle with the company van when leaving a job site. He was asked to take a drug test which came back negative for controlled substances but positive for THC metabolites. He was let go for violating the company's drug policy.
- November 2019 - a stacked operator fell during the job which required hospitalization due to serious injuries. Apparently, the man was given a drug test without his knowledge which showed THC metabolites in his system. The man said he had no memory of anything that happened that day and didn't receive a copy of the results of the test until a few days before his hearing. The employer had no proof the man was under the influence on the day of the fall or the days leading up to it.
The full amicus brief from Nessel can be read here.