Federal Court Rules In Favor Of Worker Rejected For Medical Marijuana Use
A Connecticut woman’s rights under that state’s medical marijuana law were violated when a company refused to hire her on the basis of her legal cannabis use, and a lawsuit seeking damages against her would-be employer may proceed, a federal judge ruled.
In 2016, Katelin Noffsinger filed suit against Bride Brook Health and Rehabilitation Center, a federal contractor, after a job offer was rescinded following a positive test for cannabis on a pre-employment drug test.
Noffsinger had accepted a management-level position with the firm, which then scheduled a drug test. Prior to the test, Noffsinger informed Bride Brook that she was a qualified cannabis patient under Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act, and used the drug–namely, synthetic marijuana pills, consumed in the evening–to treat post-traumatic stress disorder following a 2012 car crash.
After learning of Noffsinger’s patient status, Bride Brook officials debated over email the best way to inform her that she could not be hired because of her marijuana use.
After the positive drug test and the subsequent rejection, Noffsinger filed an employment-discrimination lawsuit in state court. The case was elevated to federal court after Bride Brook used federal drug laws–including federal cannabis prohibition–to justify their actions.
Unlike some other states including California, Connecticut’s medical-marijuana law, passed in 2012, offers specific employment protections for cannabis patients.
Employers don’t have to accommodate cannabis use during work hours or employees who are intoxicated in the workplace, but any off-hours marijuana use by a certified patient following state law is protected.
In court filings, Bride Brook argued that the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act preempted such protections.
A note for the those still wondering, if ‘legal weed’ is a harmless idea!
Marijuana legalization often has unintended consequences, but many consequences are fully intended by pro-pot lobbyists and the commercial pot industry. Here is one of them.
A federal contractor in Connecticut, who was required to conduct pre-employment drug testing, rescinded a management position offer after a woman tested positive for marijuana. The woman then filed an employment-discrimination lawsuit against the employer on the basis that she was a “qualified cannabis patient” under Connecticut law.
The employer, a rehabilitation center which had a zero tolerance drug-free workplace policy, asked a federal court to dismiss the lawsuit under the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act.
Last week, the federal judge rejected the employer’s motion on the basis that Connecticut’s medi-pot law included specific employment protections for marijuana patients. Consequently, the plaintiff can now seek monetary damages through a jury trial.
Pot legislation and voter initiatives often contain language that produces all kinds of chaos. Although most of this is purposely written into the laws, pot proponents have also learned that vague language can also be used to their advantage in court. Oklahoma is one of the most recent victims of a wide-open and extremely vague pot initiative. It won’t be the last.
At times, when I have questioned a legislator’s inclusion of certain bizarre language in a pot bill (such as absolute immunity for the pot industry and pot doctors) there has been no explanation of why the language was included or where it came from.
The answer? The pot industry purposely includes (and excludes) language in order to maximize their profits, and this fact is often ignored (or grossly misunderstood) by legislators and voters – with disastrous consequences.
Employer liability is only one of many consequences that are intended by pot industry.