Employers that test employees for drug use – beware!
In Michigan, an employee who is terminated following a positive drug test may still be eligible to receive unemployment. Ordinarily, an employee who is discharged for failing a drug test would be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits under Michigan state law. Medical marijuana use is legal in the state of Michigan under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA).
In a recent appellate court decision, the Court ruled that registered patients who use marijuana for medicinal purposes consistent with the requirements of the MMMA and are terminated from employment for failing a drug test due to such use are entitled to receive unemployment compensation benefits. Denial of unemployment benefits, according to the Court, is a “penalty” prohibited by the MMMA. The Court refused to find that the increased contributions employers will be required to pay as a result of the marijuana user’s receipt of unemployment benefits was a penalty to the employer.