Court Backs Worker Fired for Smoking Pot

State officials in Connecticut over-reacted, says decision
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 20, 2016 7:56 AM CDT
Court Backs Worker Fired for Smoking Pot
   (Jim Gehrz/Star Tribune via AP)

A Connecticut state worker fired after he was caught smoking marijuana on the job was punished too harshly and should get his job back, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday. Gregory Linhoff was fired from his maintenance job at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington in 2012 after a police officer caught him smoking pot in a state-owned vehicle, reports AP. He had no previous disciplinary problems since being hired in 1998 and had received favorable job evaluations, according to his union. He was arrested, but the charges were later dismissed.

State officials said firing the New Hartford resident was the only appropriate penalty for his conduct and not doing so would send a bad message to other employees. An arbitrator disagreed and overturned the firing, saying Linhoff instead should be suspended without pay for six months and be subject to random drug testing for a year after he returned to work. The state appealed, and the case then made its way to Connecticut's, ahem, highest court, where all seven justices agreed that the arbitrator got it right. A spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's Office said officials are reviewing the ruling and declined further comment. (More marijuana stories.)

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