Fired For Smoking Marijuana On The Job

This article was published on: 03/31/16 9:34 PM by Curt

Gregory Linhoff, who was a state employee at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington in 2012, was fired after a police officer caught him smoking marijuana in a state vehicle. Linhoff, an employee in the maintenance department, who was seeking treatment for depression, stress and anxiety due to his wife filing for divorce at the time, believed that smoking pot helped him to alleviate his worries. Linhoff was arrested on the marijuana charges which were later dismissed. Linhoff, who had no previous disciplinary problems and had received favorable job evaluations from 1998, was terminated from the employ of the State. Linhoff appealed the release through his union, to an arbitrator, who ruled that the firing for smoking marijuana on the job and in a state vehicle, was too extreme, and Linhoff should instead be suspended without pay for six months and be subjected to random drug testing for one year. The arbitrator went on to say that while state rules and policies allow for firing of first time offenders, they are not mandated.

The state appealed to a Superior Court judge, who overturned the arbitrator’s award on the grounds that it violated Connecticut’s public policy against marijuana use. Linhoff’s union, the Connecticut Employees Union Independent SEIU, appealed the judge’s ruling to the Supreme Court.

The Connecticut Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Thursday on whether a state employee who was fired for smoking marijuana on the job was punished too harshly and should be reinstated.

The state attorney general’s office says a decision in favor of the union would send a worrisome message that the state tolerates drug use and other criminal activity by state workers on the job.

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