Employee Fired Over Medical Cannabis Reinstated | Stoner News
Medical and recreational cannabis bring a lot of grey area to the table, seeing as how the federal government still places the plant as a Schedule 1 drug. This grey area is very apparent when it comes to employment. While some jobs don’t drug test, many these days do and testing positive for THC can cause you to lose the interview or, in some cases, cost you a job that you’ve been working hard at already.
In Eugene, Oregon, Michael Hirsch, age 60, worked as the Senior Programmer and Systems Analyst with the Lane County Information Services Department. During a training session in November of 2015, two HR employees said that they smelled cannabis on Hirsch after a training session. He was asked to submit to a drug test, which showed a positive result for cannabis. Hirsch was fired, even though his use of cannabis is medical, as he is a survivor of prostate cancer.
Lane County Public Information Officer Jason Davis said that this particular case is somewhat unusual. Judges usually rule in favor of the employer but Arbitrator Jeffrey Jacobs found that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that Hirsch’s marijuana use was effecting his job and that he was not medicating while at work.
“As with any instance where we have a single individual, who is testifying on their own behalf, or giving an account of their own behavior, then there is also a perceived behavior that the employer sees,”David said. “You try to resolve and reconcile those two stories and in this instance it needed to be heard by a third party, who was outside the incident. And that third party thought that the individual was in the right.” Hirsch was given more than $21,000 in back pay for his time away from work, a total of six months out of his job. He is expected to return to work in the next couple of weeks.