Screening News Update – October 8, 2014. This Screening News and Legislative Alert blog post contains BOTH a text and a video version.
This week's topics include:
- DISH TV v. Medical Marijuana
- An Airline Fined for I-9 Discrimination
- Senator Toomey Wants to Re-Screen Teachers
DISH TV v. Medical Marijuana
This week the Colorado Supreme Court is hearing the case of a man fired for taking medical marijuana. Employers have been watching Brandon Coats’ case for years because its outcome could be the first to set precedent in this ever-changing world of legalized pot.
When Coats was a teenager, he was injured in a car accident. He lost his ability to walk and was plagued by uncontrollable muscle spasms. His doctors prescribed marijuana to be taken at night to calm the spasms and allow him to sleep. In 2010 DISH TV fired him from his job as a telephone operator after failing a drug test.
Medical and recreational marijuana are both legal in Colorado now, but employers can still demand a drug-free workplace. Coats’ lawyers argue that employers need to figure out a way to handle people like Brandon who need the drug, use it only when they are not working, and are in safe jobs like answering the phone.
Right now 22 other states and Washington, D.C. allow medical marijuana.
Airline Fined for I-9 Discrimination
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) got a tip that the former Continental Airlines was discriminating against permanent resident employees.
People complained that these workers were required to complete additional I-9 forms and provide additional proof that they were allowed to work in the country. American citizens were not asked to fill out the forms, and that means the airline discriminated against the non-citizens by requiring additional burdens during the hiring process.
After an investigation, the OSC found that the airline violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and ordered the company – now United Continental Holdings, Inc.– to pay more than $200,000 in fines.
Toomey Wants to Re-Screen Teachers
Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey is pushing for federal legislation that would require all school employees across the country to undergo periodic criminal checks. The Senator based this bill on the fact that more than 325 school employees have already been arrested for sexual misconduct this year!
The bill would also block federal funds for any school district that hires an employee convicted of homicide, child abuse, child pornography, spousal abuse, sexual abuse or kidnapping. The House passed the bill quickly, but the Senate will not bring it to a vote.
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