Have you been fired due to your use of medical marijuana? If so, you may have the ability to challenge your employer’s decision in court.
Once upon a time, employers could easily create — and legally enforce — anti-marijuana policies, even if someone had legal access to medical marijuana for their condition under some form of compassionate-use law. However, social attitudes have shifted, and that is bringing about a gradual shift in the law, as well.
Courts around the nation, including in New Jersey, are increasingly siding with employees instead of employers when it comes to medical marijuana use and the issue of disability discrimination or wrongful termination. For example, one New Jersey case involved an employee who used medical marijuana as part of his cancer medication. His employer abruptly fired him after learning about the marijuana due to a zero-tolerance policy.
He successfully gained the right to pursue his employer for wrongful termination, disability discrimination and a failure to accommodate. His case is, however, not unique.
For employers, the issue is complicated. An employer may have a zero-tolerance policy for illicit drugs and think that medical marijuana falls into that category because marijuana remains illegal on a federal level.
However, the state judge may not agree. Increasingly, they’re inclined to treat medical marijuana as just another prescription drug. If used judiciously by the employee in a way that does not impair their job performance or on his or her personal time, judges aren’t quick to draw a distinction between marijuana and something like Percocet or Norco.
If you’ve been discharged over medical marijuana, you may have a valid wrongful termination claim. You owe it to yourself to learn more.