Vermont: Medical Cannabis User Fired After Failing Drug Test Appeals Denial of Job Benefits

Insurance Journal

A Vermont man who lost his job after he said a random drug test showed he had used medical marijuana off duty for chronic pain has appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court saying he should not have been denied a portion of his state unemployment benefits.

Ivo Skoric, 59, representing himself, told the justices Wednesday that he is legally prescribed the medical cannabis by a doctor and his work performance is excellent and not impacted by the medicine. Yet, he said, in January 2023 he was terminated from his job at the Marble Valley Regional Transit District in Rutland for misconduct after a drug test. He said his job was to clean and fuel buses, and he drove them into and out of the garage onto a lot. The misconduct disqualified him from the benefits, according to the state.

“As a medical cannabis patient in Vermont to treat disabling conditions under Vermont’s Fair Employment Practices Act disability provisions, I should be protected by state agencies. I should not be disqualified from receiving unemployment,” Skoric said.

A lawyer for the ACLU of Vermont, also representing Criminal Justice Reform, and Disability Rights Vermont, also argued that the benefits should not be denied.

Skoric had appealed to the Vermont Employment Security Board after he was found to be ineligible for state unemployment benefits for the weeks ending January 14, 2023, through February 18, 2023, and his maximum benefit amount was capped at 23 times his weekly benefit, according to the board.

In September 2023, the board agreed with an administrative law judge saying Skoric engaged in conduct prohibited by the employer’s drug and alcohol policy, “exposing him to discipline including termination of his employment,” and that because he was discharged for misconduct he was disqualified from those benefits.


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