Michigan Chamber Asks Court of Appeals to Protect Safe, Drug-Free Workplace

March 11, 2014

Employers maintaining drug-free workplace policies should not be forced to accommodate an employee’s use of medical marijuana, says the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, who filed an amicus curiae brief with the Michigan Court of Appeals in Braska v. State of Michigan.

The Michigan Chamber Litigation Center is asking the Court of Appeals to overturn a ruling by the Kent County Circuit Court, which awarded unemployment benefits to an employee, after he was fired for a drug violation, because he was a medical marijuana user.

“The Michigan Chamber is seeking a reversal of the lower court’s decision because it puts employers in a no-win situation,” said Michigan Chamber President & CEO Rich Studley. “If the Circuit Court’s ruling is allowed to stand employers will be forced to either ignore known drug use and jeopardize workplace safety or discharge those employees and pay their unemployment benefits and, subsequently, higher unemployment taxes.”

“The Court must decide whether or not the law allows medical marijuana users to intentionally violate their employer's drug policy and then receive special treatment by being awarded unemployment benefits,” said Jim Holcomb, Senior Vice President for Business Advocacy & General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber. “This precedent setting case is critically important to job providers across Michigan and we will continue to stand up for them by championing the position that employers' must retain the right to enforce zero-tolerance drug policies.”