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Lawmakers in Colorado are considering legislation that would clarify that an employer cannot fire a person who uses marijuana while not at work, according to a bill introduced on Friday and subsequently sent to committee.
H.B. 1089 aims to treat off-duty alcohol use the same as that of marijuana, which is now legal recreationally in Colorado but remains illegal according to federal law — providing a loophole for employers to fire individuals who use marijuana, according to the bill.
“State law prohibits employers from terminating employees for lawful off-duty activities, including the off-duty consumption of alcohol” the bill states, adding that “the Colorado constitution requires that marijuana be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol” yet “employers are currently allowed to terminate employees for off-duty consumption of marijuana.”
Amending the state law that addresses an employee’s personal time, the bill states that it “is discriminatory or unfair employment practice for an employer to terminate the employment of any employee due to that employee's engaging in any lawful activity that is lawful under state law while off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours, regardless of whether the activity (is) lawful under federal law.”
Motor vehicle accidents account for 39% of the workplace fatalities in Colorado, likely because workers in certain professions are increasingly on the road as part of their jobs, according to claims data released Tuesday by Pinnacol Assurance Inc.