The Supreme Court has decided that a state employee who was fired for smoking marijuana at work should get his job back. The state argued that suspending Gregory Linhoff rather than firing him violated public policy. According to Linhoff’s attorney, there is a public policy of rehabilitation and second chances in the workplace.
Smoking marijuana helped Linhoff cope with stress and anxiety
Linhoff was seeking treatment for depression at the time he was fired. Smoking marijuana helped him cope with stress and anxiety caused by his divorce and fear of cancer. An arbitrator disagreed with the Linhoff’s firing and overturned it. He asked for a six months suspension and drug testing for one year after returning to work. The arbitrator’s appeal was overturned first, but all seven justices agreed that is was wrong to fire Linhoff. Even though state policy allows to fire workers for drug use, it does not require it. Officials are now reviewing the ruling.
This case is significant because it recognizes the value of arbitration, designed to settle disputes out of court. It also plays into the conversation of legalizing medical marijuana for medical conditions such as depression.