The Columbian / Associated Press

High court sides with employee fired for smoking pot at work

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s top court has ruled that a state worker fired for smoking marijuana on the job in 2012 was penalized too harshly and should get his job back.

The Supreme Court justices said Friday that a lower court judge was wrong to overturn the decision of an arbitrator. The arbitrator had ordered University of Connecticut Health Center maintenance worker Gregory Linhoff suspended without pay for six months and subjected to random drug testing for one year. Officials fired Linhoff after the judge’s ruling.

State officials said allowing Linhoff to return to work would violate public policy against drug use in the workplace and send a bad message to other workers.

The Supreme Court said Linhoff deserved to be disciplined, but state policy doesn’t require firing him.