Federal Judge Rejects Medical Marijuana Civil Rights Claim

U.S. Senior District Judge John Kane has granted an order to dismiss the claim of a former MillerCoors employee and medical marijuana user who was fired after testing positive for marijuana. Curry v. MillerCoors, Inc. (Dist. Colo. Aug 21, 2013).

According to the order, MillerCoors fired Paul Curry after he tested positive for marijuana, a violation of MillerCoors’s written drug policy. Curry filed suit, alleging invasion of privacy and that his termination violated Colorado civil rights law.

Judge Kane found no basis for any of Curry’s claims.

“[Curry’s] allegation that he was terminated because of using medical marijuana to treat medical conditions does not pass muster because a positive test for marijuana, whether from medical or any other use, is a legitimate basis for discharge under Colorado law,” the judge wrote.

Judge Kane added that anti-discrimination law does not prevent employers from enforcing “standard policies against misconduct,” observing that “a termination for misconduct is not converted into a termination because of a disability just because the instigating misconduct somehow relates to a disability.”

“Judge Kane’s order is yet another in a string of recent legal victories for employers in Colorado,” says MSEC attorney Curtis Graves. “It is particularly welcome given the lack of interpretive materials for Colorado civil rights law as compared to federal law.”