Customer Experience News & Trends

How a pot-smoking agent landed one contact center in court

An agent comes to work stoned. That’s grounds for firing her, right? Maybe not.

The agent told her new employer that she had a doctor’s clearance to use medical marijuana to relieve her migraine headaches at work. Still, TeleTech fired the agent when she failed a company-required drug test.

That’s when the agent – only identified as Jane Roe – sued, claiming the company violated her rights, as well as the Washington state law that permitted medicinal use of marijuana, by not accommodating her disability.

The case, Roe v. TeleTech Customer Care Management, went all the way to the Washington Supreme Court. Every court along the way agreed the company had a right to fire the agent – and the highest court agreed.

The main reason: The state law that allows anyone to use marijuana for medical reasons only protects users from criminal charges for possessing the drug. It doesn’t protect them from civil actions, such as being fired under a company policy.

So, no, agents can’t come to work high without consequence. State laws vary, and most don’t allow medical use of marijuana.

Still, as contact center leaders, you might want to make sure you have a policy in place that prohibits drug use, requires drug tests and lays out clear consequences for violations.

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