The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether a state employee fired for smoking marijuana on the job was punished too harshly.

A labor union lawyer is expected to urge justices Thursday to rule that a lower court judge was wrong to overturn an arbitrator's decision to reinstate Gregory Linhoff, who was fired from his maintenance job at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington in 2012.

The arbitrator determined that while the state's rules and policies on drug and alcohol use allow for firing first-time offenders such as Linhoff, they do not mandate it.

The state appealed to a Superior Court judge, who overturned Linhoff's reinstatement on the grounds that the arbitrator's award violated a well-defined public policy in Connecticut against marijuana use.