NEW CASE: The Michigan Court of Appeals Reinforces Zero-Tolerance Workplace Rules

In a recent case ( Eplee v City of Lansing ), the Michigan Court of Appeals held that an employer could rescind a conditional offer of employment when the applicant fails a drug screen for Marijuana.

In this case, the plaintiff, Angela Eplee, was given a conditional offer of employment by the defendant, Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL).

At the time of the offer, Eplee informed the employer that she qualified under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) for a valid medical marijuana registry card.  Eplee underwent a preemployment drug test and tested positive for marijuana and BWL rescinded the conditional offer of employment.

Eplee alleged that BWL violated section 4a of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (“MMMA”) which prohibits the denial of “any right or privilege” because of a qualifying use of medical marijuana and that there was no “legitimate business reason” to rescind her offer of employment.

The Michigan Court of Appeals noted that under Michigan law there is a presumption of employment at-will. The court decision reinforced that the MMMA does not create “carte blanche” protections to registered medical marijuana patients and that the MMMA did not create a “contractual right to employment where no such right previously existed.”

At this time, Michigan employers may continue to enforce zero-tolerance drug testing policies and rescind conditional offers of at-will employment after careful consideration. It is recommended to keep abreast of this quickly changing area of employment law and consult with an Employment Professional before taking any adverse action.