Colorado case debates off-duty pot use |

Colorado case debates off-duty pot use

John Ingold/The Denver Post

A case pending before the Colorado Court of Appeals could have a big impact on whether employers will be able to fire workers who smoke marijuana off duty.

The case concerns a former Dish Network telephone operator and medical-marijuana patient who was fired after testing positive for pot, even though there was no evidence he was impaired on the job. The operator, Brandon Coats, said it is against state law to fire someone for doing something off duty that is legal.

While Coats' case concerns medical-marijuana law, it is drawing extra attention after the passage of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana use for everyone age 21 and older in Colorado. Some employers said during Amendment 64's campaign that they worried that the measure would prevent them from enforcing workplace drug policies that prohibit any marijuana use at all.

What Coats' case may answer: Does it?