marijuana clearHartford: Connecticut’s Supreme Court made a giant change in employment law and potentially changed workplace rules for use of illegal drugs including potentially alcohol.

The court overturned the firing of a state employee for smoking marijuana, an illegal substance at work. The court said the employee could have been suspended but firing of the state employee was unnecessary

The 7-0 vote, made it clear that the court chose to side with an arbitrator’s ruling that Gregory Linhoof, simply be suspended for six months without pay and subject to a year’s worth of drug testing.

The state and a lower court saw the issue differently saying that a suspension would essentially encourage illegal drug use by employees.

The court said that,  “by the arbitrator’s estimation, the grievant’s personal qualities and overall record indicate that he is a good candidate for a second chance,” Rogers wrote, adding “moreover, the discipline the arbitrator imposed was appropriately severe, and sends a message to others who might consider committing similar misconduct that painful consequences will result.”

In a potentially complication on future cases the court cited that no potential danger to others were involved in Linhoff’s illegal drug use.

Linhoff maintained his use of the illegal substance was caused by his need to relieve “anxiety” caused by difficulties in his marriage and “a recent cancer scare.”