The Latest: Lawyer says firing worker over pot use too harsh

AP News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2016 2:40 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Latest on arguments before the Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday in the case of a state worker fired for smoking marijuana on the job (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

A labor union lawyer is urging the Connecticut Supreme Court to rule that the firing of a state employee caught smoking marijuana on the job was too harsh a punishment.

Justices heard arguments Thursday in the case of Gregory Linhoff, who was fired from his maintenance job at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington in 2012. The court is expected to issue its decision in a few months.

After Linhoff was fired, an arbitrator ruled he should have been suspended for six months without pay instead of fired, because state policies on drug and alcohol use don't mandate the firing of first-time offenders such as Linhoff. A trial court judge overturned the arbitrator's ruling.

Barbara Collins, a lawyer for Linhoff's union, says the judge was wrong and Linhoff should get a second chance.

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10:47 a.m.

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether a state employee fired for smoking marijuana on the job was punished too harshly.

A labor union lawyer is expected to urge justices Thursday to rule that a lower court judge was wrong to overturn an arbitrator's decision to reinstate Gregory Linhoff, who was fired from his maintenance job at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington in 2012.

The arbitrator determined that while the state's rules and policies on drug and alcohol use allow for firing first-time offenders such as Linhoff, they do not mandate it.

The state appealed to a Superior Court judge, who overturned Linhoff's reinstatement on the grounds that the arbitrator's award violated a well-defined public policy in Connecticut against marijuana use.