My friend just got summarily fired from her job for a pot brownie


Man, this situation is just stupid and sad. Said friend - she wasn’t working a low-skill job, she’s got a Master’s in a hard-science field and she had worked professionally in it at my former employer for about seven years. A month or so ago, on vacation, she was visiting friends and they had made some pot brownies. She knew that, enjoyed them anyways. Should be no big deal. But she made the “mistake” of casually chatting about it. Somehow it got to somebody at her work, she was pulled immediately for a drug screen, where, no surprise, they picked up the THC.

It was always a stupid policy (re: marijuana. I get how they would rightly be concerned about hard drugs.) To my old employer’s credit - yes, it was a stupid policy, but they were honest and open about it upfront and often: A single positive on a list of these drugs (including marijuana) and you are fired. Period.

After the test and results (lab called her first to try to shame her into admitting she’s a junkie :mad: which she is absolutely not) she called her manager and explained the whole situation. Since he’s fairly new to the company, his first reaction was, “Pot brownies? Ehhhh. That’s no big deal. Thanks for being honest, I don’t consider this a huge issue.” Then he must have gotten the law laid down by HR, because he called her back within an hour to tell her, “I’m really sorry. But company policy is that you’re done. They’ve locked all your logins. You need to collect your stuff and get out within an hour.”


It’s just depressing. Friend made a stupid mistake, and lost her fairly well-paying high level professional job. And now she’s trying to find a new one, with the classic “Have you ever been fired for cause?” hanging over her head.

The company policy is stupid (IMO), but I’m not trying to flame them. Like I said - stupid as the policy is, they always made it very clear, and hell, when I worked there random screens were frequent and it kept me from ever having a bit of fun. And damn it, why did she have to talk? Like I said, just sad. Her husband still works so it’s not like they’re going to be poor, but losing years of a professional career just like that. Sigh. You wish it would be over something more serious.

She might want to ask if she could be allowed to resign rather than be terminated. Prolly should have done that during the first conversation with her manager, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask. She probably would not be eligible for unemployment anyway, but it would avoid having “fired for cause” in her records.

Or she may wish to explore employment opportunities in Washington, Colorado, or a medical marijuana state. Maybe it’s not a big deal in those places.

The funny thing is - our state is (very recently) a medical marijuana state. But the company doesn’t give a damn, and as far as I know, there is no legal requirement for the company (private) to allow legal (under medical prescription) drugs. They screen for the more powerful painkillers as well, which have been legal (with prescription) for some time, and they don’t give a damn. For those, it makes some sense - it is a manufacturing company (my friend had a desk job though) and they don’t care if a doctor prescribed it, if you are actively working (i.e., not on disability) and it’s in your system you are fired.

IANAL, but my understanding is that it IS illegal for the company to can you for use of prescription meds for a desk job, provided they have enough employees to be subject to the ADA.

(bolding mine)

See, even idiots can get Master’s Degrees.

She was a junkie and broke the law

drugs are bad, mkay

Turning up positive a month after one use? I assume this was a urine test? Is she obese? If not, then I would wonder if she is being honest about only doing it once, or if in fact she was using it more regularly than she is admitting to.

I find it hard to be overly sympathetic - I don’t care that she broke the law, but she showed extremely poor judgement.

  1. I think people underestimate how petty other people are. Don’t go bragging about stuff on Facebook or telling casual friends about stuff you can easily lose your job over.

  2. you mention they do (or at least used to use) random screenings. If these screening actually happen - pot stays in your system for ~30 days (rule of thumb). That is just stupid to take that kind of risk. Abuse drugs that stay in your system for a shorter period of time is what I take from that. Do it on Friday night so it is out of your system by Monday morning :slight_smile:

That does suck though. Wouldn’t hurt to try and talk to HR like someone mentioned and see if they could retroactively resign or something like that.

I’d never work for a company with such a policy. They probably did her a favor. I certainly wouldn’t call her a junkie. Wow.

Depends on the type of test, and the degree of usage. Hair follicle tests can detect drug use for considerably longer periods of time.

Why is “mistake” in quotes? It was undeniably a mistake. Why in the world would an ostensibly intelligent person violate their employer’s policy and then openly admit to it? Loss of her job shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Since this is in MPSIMS I might as well add that I don’t use any recreational drugs other than caffeine, but I’ve never understood the drive to talk about drug use. It’s usually the most boring discussion in the world:

:cool: “Man, we got so high last weekend!”

:rolleyes: “Yeah? How high?”

:cool: “Real high! It was great!”

:rolleyes: “OK. Good for you I guess.”

I don’t understand this part. Why would a lab do anything other than simply report back the results of the test? Weird.

A random drug screening after returning from vacation doesn’t seem off to me.

Why the hell is a company interested in what employees do when they are not at work? Why is it the company’s business? They have a right to take bodily fluids or tissues and test them for certain compounds they deem unacceptable? Really?

Unless performance is obviously affected, employees should be free to smoke as much pot or snort as much cocaine as they like without the company showing an interest.

Are you enjoying your undergraduate years, Virgil?

I find it so bizarre that a company would have a say over what you do in your free time, without demonstrating they have a very good reason for it.

If they don’t like the way you’re performing, have them fire you for that. If you come to work drunk you should be fired for not performing well on the job, not just for having alcohol in your blood.

But eating a pot brownie ages ago in your free time and getting fired for that is just plain weird. The fact that they let you know the rules in advance doesn’t make it any better, nor does the all-the-other-employers-do-it-too factor. For a country obsessed with freedom, surely your unions could do better at actually fighting for some freedom and rights for employees. The freedom to do whatever you want in your free time.

I’m sorry for your friend. I hope she finds a more reasonable employer!

gracer, US unions aren’t like the ones you’re used to; I’ve described them as “subcontractors with a big stick”. A frequent complaint I have against our unions is that they’re supposed to work for every worker in the country/sector but don’t - American ones aren’t supposed to work for every worker in the country/sector.
GameHat, she made two mistakes: doing something she knew could get her fired and talking about it. That’s not one mistake, it’s two.

You would be surprised at how quickly recreational use can start affecting the workplace. Over the years, I have put in a hell of a lot of overtime, covering for people who were habitually late or absent, because they loved their substance more than they loved their paycheck. (It was usually drunks, but stoners can be annoying as well.)

Personally, I am a social Darwinist, and I favor legalizing all substances and letting natural selection take its course. But I can easily understand the company’s point of view.

I don’t understand something: did she talk about that pot brownie at work, or did she talk about it at home/with friends and someone then talked about it to someone who work with her?

Desk jobs rarely have unions, with the exception of teachers, and probably some other profession I’m not thinking of. Also, not all non-desk jobs have unionized workers. I’ve done a mess of different jobs in my ~25 years in the workforce (restaurant, factory, desk) and never had union representation.

Also, depending on the job, the employers may be wary about letting you have the chance at fucking up first while on drugs. If you’re working in healthcare, you get drug-screened prior to hiring, and then (I haven’t seen this part personally happen) again IIRC if they have cause, which would include after a tip or probably after some catastrophic event.