Medical Marijuana Use Costing People Jobs
Michigan man prescribed medical marijuana suing employer for terminating him after a drug screening showed THC in his system, as he had provided a copy of his prescription to the company.
MICHIGAN – The use of medical marijuana has cost one Michigan man his job. Joseph Casias was fired from his position at a Michigan Wal-Mart store after a drug screening came back positive for marijuana in November 2009.
Casias had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that had spread into his brain and nasal cavity. Medical marijuana was prescribed to help alleviate the daily pain that he was suffering from. Casias become employed at the Wal-Mart location in 2005 and in 2008, he received the Employee of the Year Award.
But in late 2009, he sprained his ankle at work. Wal-Mart employment policies mandate that those injured on the job submit to drug testing. Casias cooperated. He failed the drug test and provided the company with a copy of his state medical marijuana card. For his efforts, he was dismissed from his job.
Fourteen states in the US currently have laws allowing medical marijuana. Many states also have lax laws pertaining to “At Will” employment. An “At Will” state allows for an employer to fire an employee for any reason as long as it is not due to being part of a protected class. This would include being fired due to race, age over 40, gender, religion, veteran status, and disability. This means that an employer could terminate you simply because they hate the color green and your car is green – and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
Casias has since applied for and been receiving unemployment, which the company has only recently decided to challenge. Casias is not alone, as each year hundreds of patients that receive and use medical marijuana as part of their treatment plans are fired from their jobs or lose offers of employment after their drug screenings return positive.
Casias has garnered national attention, as his story has been picked up by news stations around the nation. Various groups have also banded together and made a presence off and on of the internet in support.