Pot's Legal In Mass., But Attorneys Say Bosses Can Still Fire You For Smoking It

Nov 23, 2018

There's now unprecedented legal access to marijuana in Massachusetts. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's OK with employers.

Even though you can buy and smoke pot recreationally in Massachusetts, your boss can still fire you for it. It's still legal for an employer to drug test workers, and discipline people whose results show marijuana use.

Attorney Marylou Fabbo said workers who are prescribed marijuana for medical purposes are protected from being disciplined for using the drug outside of work.

“But when we’re talking about recreational marijuana, employers still do not have to permit it on their premises, they are free to continue their drug testing, and to make decisions based on the outcome of those tests,” Fabbo said.

However, Attorney Michael Cutler — who worked on the campaign to legalize non-medical marijuana, and represents clients in the marijuana business — said a state Supreme Judicial Court ruling last year could open the door to limiting employers’ scope when it comes to recreational use.

The court ruled employers cannot take action against someone who uses marijuana outside of work when it's prescribed for a medical condition.

“What I think that the state legalization does, is it gives non-medical-qualified employees the ability to say that they have a privacy right not to be drug tested,” Cutler said.

But he added if there's reason to believe an employee's high at work, there's probably no recourse.