By Daniel Fisher, Forbes.com
Who says arbitration is stacked against the little guy? The Connecticut Supreme Court this week reversed a lower court and reinstated a state employee who’d been fired for smoking marijuana on the job, siding with his union and an arbitrator who said the punishment was too harsh — even though the employee had access to heavy vehicles and performed maintenance work on building roofs.
The decision in State of Connecticut v. Conn. Employees Union Independent says police found University of Connecticut Health Center worker Gregory Linhoff in a UConn van parked in a “secluded area” at 5:30 p.m., smoking from a glass pipe. He told police he was taking a short break from work and lit up the pipe to eliminate “smelly” pot residue. He was arrested and police found two bags with three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana in his pockets. Criminal charges were later dismissed, but UConn fired him, citing his access to dangerous vehicles, the unsupervised nature of his work maintaining heating and air conditioning equipment in high places, and, well, the fact that smoking pot is illegal and doing it on state time in a state-owned van is a firing offense.