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Zero-Tolerance Policy Didn't Justify Refusing to Hire Medical Marijuana User in Connecticut

A Federal District Court in Connecticut has held an employer liable for discrimination under Connecticut state law for rescinding an offer to an employee who tested positive for use of medical marijuana, even though the employer was a federal contractor applying its zero-tolerance drug-testing policy. See Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150453 (D. Conn., Sept. 5, 2018).

More Buzz in Connecticut on Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

A Connecticut federal court judge provided further clarification for employers concerning Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA). In its second decision in Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company, LLC (Noffsinger II), the court further defined the contours of a PUMA discrimination claim, holding that federal law does not negate PUMA’s anti-discrimination protections and that certain damages are not recoverable under PUMA. This case is significant for employers because it explains the relationship between federal and Connecticut state laws concerning marijuana use and provides important guidance for employers that use drug testing in the workplace.

Connecticut Continues to Extend Protections to Employees under State Medical Marijuana Law, Rejects Federal Preemption Defense

A Connecticut federal court has issued another decision in the case of Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company LLC, further expanding protections to individuals who are qualified under Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA) to use marijuana. In 2017, the same court held that various federal laws prohibiting use and sale of marijuana do not prohibit employers from hiring individuals who use marijuana in compliance with state law.1 The decision, Noffsinger I, was also the first to imply a private cause of action under PUMA’s employment anti-discrimination provisions.

Refusing to Hire Medical Marijuana User Violates State Law, Connecticut Court Holds

Refusing to hire a medical marijuana user because she tested positive on a pre-employment drug test violates Connecticut’s medical marijuana law, a federal court in Connecticut has held, granting summary judgment to the job applicant on her employment discrimination claim. Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, d/b/a Bride Brook Nursing & Rehab. Ctr., No. 3:16-cv-01938, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150453 (D. Conn. Sept. 5, 2018).

Connecticut Court Holds That Refusing To Hire Medical Marijuana User Constitutes Employment Discrimination

A federal court in Connecticut has held that refusing to hire a medical marijuana user who tested positive on a pre-employment drug test violates the state’s medical marijuana law. The Court granted summary judgment to the applicant on her claim for employment discrimination but declined to award her attorneys’ fees or punitive damages. The Court also dismissed her claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, d/b/a Bride Brook Health & Rehab. Ctr., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150453 (D. Conn. Sept. 5, 2018).

Connecticut Supreme Court Rules that Collateral Estoppel Does Not Bar a Statutory Claim Brought Before the Workers' Compensation Commission Despite Prior Arbitration of the Similar Claim

The Connecticut Supreme Court is permitting a city worker in New Haven, Connecticut, to pursue a claim for retaliation before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The city had previously fired the worker on the grounds that the worker had committed workers’ compensation fraud.

Are You An Employer In Connecticut? Do You Have 50 Employees? When Is The Last Time You Did Sexual Harassment Training?

Unless you have been living under a rock these last few months, you know sexual harassment claims are on the rise in every industry. We have seen this in all echelons of government, the judiciary, national sporting leagues, entertainment, and the restaurant industry to name a few. One way employers work to combat sexual harassment and create a culture in which such behavior is frowned upon is through training. Very few states require mandatory sexual harassment training. However, in Connecticut, training is mandatory for certain employers.

This and That: Joint Employer Standards and Class Action Tolling

Last week, the NLRB announced that it would be issuing proposed rulemaking on joint employer standards this summer.

Connecticut Bans Inquiries into Applicants’ Wage and Salary History

Connecticut is the latest state to prohibit employers from asking prospective employees about past compensation. Effective January 1, 2019, employers may not ask (directly or through a third party) about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history unless the prospective employee volunteers the information.

Connecticut's New Pay Equity Bill Prohibits Questions Regarding Prospective Employees' Wage and Salary History

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed Public Act No. 18-8, “An Act Concerning Pay Equity,” into law on May 22, 2018, making Connecticut the sixth state to prohibit employers from asking applicants about salary history. California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont had previously adopted similar bans. The new Connecticut law will permit applicants to file lawsuits for damages and other remedies.