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Benefits Litigation Update – July 2015

Welcome to the new, rejuvenated version of the Benefits Litigation Update, which we bring you jointly with the law firm of Epstein Becker Green. Our goal is to provide a concise and, we hope, insightful glimpse into recent...more

Employer Required to Reimburse Employee For Medical Marijuana Treatment

The Court of Appeals of New Mexico issued a decision last week that many employers believe flies in the face of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 801 (“CSA”), and the Justice Department’s August 29, 2013 Memorandum....more

Preemption Law Results Show Different Approaches States Take with Local Sick Leave Measures

2015 has been a notable year for the passage and implementation of local mandatory paid sick leave (PSL) laws. In addition to statewide laws taking effect in California and Massachusetts, new local laws have taken effect in...more

Miners & Marijuana

As in other industries, mining companies must contend with employees and contractors using or being under the influence of illegal drugs in the workplace. Marijuana is one of the most prominent substances detected in drug...more

District Court Confirms Federal Preemption in Massachusetts “ABC Test” Litigation

Yesterday, Judge Denise Casper of the District of Massachusetts issued an industry friendly ruling in Massachusetts Delivery Association v. Healy, awarding summary judgment to the Massachusetts Delivery Association (“MDA”)...more

Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Firing For Medical Marijuana Use

In a closely watched case, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that an employer could lawfully terminate an employee who tested positive for marijuana in a random drug test, even though the employee’s use of marijuana was...more

Federal Judge Holds FAAAA Preempts a Critical Portion of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law

On July 8, 2015, a federal district court judge held that a section of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor law, as applied to same-day delivery services, is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization...more

A “Hotbox” Of Legal Issues: California’s Workplace Marijuana Laws

With New York joining in last year, nearly half the country has laws permitting state residents to use marijuana for medical purposes, and a handful even permit recreational use. California led the movement when it passed the...more

Colorado Medical Marijuana Case is Not as Far-Reaching as Expected

On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision in Coats v. Dish Network. In a unanimous decision, the court in Coats upheld the termination of an employee who failed a random drug test...more

Recent Colorado Supreme Court Decision on Medical Marijuana Highlights Risks Facing Employers in Connecticut Who Seek to Enforce...

As many of our clients know, we frequently train and counsel employers on the implications of Connecticut’s medical marijuana law in the workplace. Although medical marijuana use remains illegal under federal law,...more

Medical Marijuana Still “Unlawful”

The Colorado Supreme Court considered whether a state law prohibiting discrimination based on an employee’s “lawful” off-work activities applies to the employee’s use of medical marijuana as permitted under state law. Coats...more

Colorado Supreme Court Plays Debbie Downer for Medical Pot Users

The wait is finally over. Employers in Colorado – and in other states with similar lifestyle laws – can breathe a sigh of relief following a recent ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court. In Coats v. Dish Network, a...more

Despite State Laws, Marijuana Use is Illegal and Can be Grounds for Discharge

A client in North Carolina recently asked me whether it was lawful to fire an employee for smoking marijuana. “Of course,” I replied. She then added another fact: the employee had been on vacation in Colorado and returned...more

Study: One in Seven Colorado Adults Use Marijuana

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports that roughly one in seven, or 13.5 percent of adults in Colorado currently use marijuana. In addition, nearly half the adult population of Colorado, 48.9...more

Colorado Allows Firing of Employee Who Used Medical Marijuana

As more states jump on the medical marijuana bandwagon, employers are faced with increasing questions about how these changes in the law affect drug testing policies. The conventional wisdom has been that medical marijuana...more

Colorado Supreme Court Okays Discharge of Medical Marijuana-Using Employee

Colorado, like some other states including New York, has a law that generally prohibits an employer from discharging an employee for engaging in lawful activities outside of work. Earlier this week, in Coats v. Dish Network,...more

It’s Not All “High” in the Rockies – Colorado Supreme Court Finds That Employees Can Be Fired For Use of Medical Marijuana

As more states legalize medical marijuana and consider legalization of “recreational” marijuana, many employers have wrestled with the question of whether they can still maintain a drug free workplace or must allow employees...more

Court Of Appeals Holds No ERISA Preemption Of Section 419(b)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent holding in Sender v. Franklin Res., Inc., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10113 (9th Cir. Cal. June 16, 2015) is reasonably clear and yet there is much about the case that puzzles...more

Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Termination of Medical Marijuana User - A Trend Is Beginning for Courts to Permit Employers to...

In Coats v. Dish Network, the Colorado Supreme Court held that the state’s “lawful activities” statute did not limit the right of an employer to discharge an employee for the employee’s lawful (under Colorado law) use of...more

Colorado Employers Can Fire Workers for Off-Duty Medical Marijuana Use

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled on June 15, 2015, that an employee can be fired for using medical marijuana even though the drug is legal in Colorado and the employee was not at work at the time. The unanimous decision...more

Coats v. Dish Network, LLC: The Colorado Supreme Court Provides Added Certainty Regarding a Colorado Employee’s Use of Medical...

On Monday, June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court, in a long-awaited decision in the Coats v. Dish Network, LLC, case, confirmed what actions employers may take against employees in Colorado who use medical marijuana...more

ERISA Preemption Trumps State Insurance Law Yet Again: Ninth Circuit Declines to Apply California’s Insurance Notice-Prejudice...

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a Plan participant’s attempt to extend California insurance law’s notice-prejudice rule to self-insured ERISA plans. Zagon v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 2015 BL...more

Colorado High Court Finds Smoking Medical Marijuana a Drag on Employment

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that an employee who uses medicinal marijuana at home during non-working hours can be discharged for failing a drug test. While application may be limited by its heavy reliance on Colorado...more

Even in Colorado, you can be fired for off-duty drug use

Remember this one about the employee fired for legal drug use? How about this one? It seems that we have been talking more about the impact of legal marijuana use on employment since 2012, when voters in Colorado and...more

Colorado Supreme Court Beats the Reefer

In a closely watched case involving legal protections for medical marijuana users, the Colorado Supreme Court decided yesterday that the state’s “lawful products” statute does not apply to activities that violate federal law....more

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