December 13, 2013 | SteveElliott
Courts continue to uphold the practice in new legal gray areas
Overwhelmingly, Americans — about 2/3 of them — believe that it’s unacceptable for companies to fire employees for off-the-clock marijuana use in states where it is legal.
According to the HuffPost/YouGov poll, 64 percent of Americans think that if marijuana were legal in their state, it would be unacceptable to fire an employee for toking up during his or her free time. Only 22 percent said it would be acceptable to dismiss them for toking off the job.
That’s identical to the percentage saying it would be unacceptable to fire an employee for drinking off the job.
How about in states where marijuana isn’t yet legal? In that case, when simply asked whether it would be unacceptable to fire an employee for smoking marijuana during off-hours, not mentioning the legality of cannabis, 45 percent said it would be unacceptable, and 32 percent said it would be OK. Fifty-one percent of respondents under age 30 said it would be unacceptable to fire employees for marijuana use, regardless of legality.
In a situation where cannabis is legal, a majority of all respondents in all age categories said it would not be OK to fire someone for smoking pot. Most likely to say such a dismissal would be unacceptable was the 45-to-64 age group, with 73 percent saying it wouldn’t be OK, and 18 percent saying it would be acceptable.
Despite the unpopularity of firing employees for using legal cannabis off the job, courts continue to uphold the practice, reports AlterNet’s Paul Armentano. The Supreme Courts of California, Oregon and Washington have all ruled that the legalization of medical cannabis on the state level doesn’t prevent employers from firing workers for off-the-job use. Similar court challenges are still pending in other states, including Colorado and Michigan.
View the full results of the poll: www.tinyurl.com/firingpoll