Michigan AG Says Unemployment Benefits OK for Off-The-Job Pot Use

High Times

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel argued in a legal brief filed on Monday that workers who are fired for using cannabis off the job should be eligible for state unemployment benefits. The brief was filed with the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission, which is deciding the cases of three employees who were fired for testing positive for cannabis metabolites in drug screenings. In the brief, Nessel wrote the commission’s decisions in the cases are of “statewide importance,” and that the issue “tests the State’s statutory commitments to worker protections and personal freedom.” “The commission’s ruling on this issue will directly impact many law-abiding Michigan workers who may be terminated for the use of marijuana,” she said. In two of the cases, an administrative law judge determined that the terminated employees were eligible for unemployment benefits under state law because marijuana is legal under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA), the cannabis legalization initiative passed by voters in 2018. In the third case, the judge ruled that a positive test for marijuana metabolites disqualified the worker for unemployment benefits. Michigan Attorney General: Private Cannabis Use Not Misconduct Nessel’s brief argues that employees fired for marijuana use that does not impact job performance are not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits under the “misconduct’ or “illegal drugs” provisions of Michigan employment law. In the case of an HVAC worker who was fired after a minor collision in a company vehicle, the brief holds that the employee’s private use of marijuana did not constitute “misconduct connected with the individual’s work.” “Of course, an employee discharged for knowingly using an intoxicating substance at work could be disqualified for benefits, whether the substance was a legal one like alcohol or marijuana, or an illegal one,” the attorney general’s office wrote in the brief.…

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Source : Michigan AG Says Unemployment Benefits OK for Off-The-Job Pot Use

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