Last week, National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge ($$) Mary Cracraft ruled that Circus Circus Casinos Inc. violated the National Labor Relations Act by terminating an employee who complained about exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke.  The employee, a journeyman carpenter working on guest rooms at the hotel, apparently complained during a group meeting about being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke coming from guest rooms.  Another employee complained about the issue at a subsequent meeting and also expressed concern that exposure to the drug could lead to a positive drug test.

The casino’s chief engineer told the employees there was nothing to worry about, but the employees were not satisfied with that explanation and asked for professional analysis.  The chief engineer refused.  More problematically, he also threatened the employees with termination before storming out of the room.

The first complaining employee was subsequently suspended, then terminated.  The judge held that both acts were unlawful:

“Respondent would not have discharged Schramm absent his protected, concerted activity,” the ruling said. “Thus I find that Schramm was suspended and discharged because at an employee meeting, he complained together with [engineer Fred] Teeney about a workplace health and safety issue.” 

The judge’s decision requires Circus Circus to reinstate the terminated employee and to make him whole for any lost earnings.  Stay tuned to @LRToday, where we will keep you posted on any possible appeals.