Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yes! - Walmart Fires Workplace Stoner for Medical Marijuana on the Job!

Hooray for Walmart, sticking up for principle.

From ABC News, "
Walmart Fires Cancer Patient with Prescription for Medical Marijuana: Man Who Earned Associate of the Year Honors Fired by Employer Even Though Medical Marijuana Legal":

Even though Michigan resident Joseph Casias had a prescription from his doctor for medical marijuana, he was fired after a positive test for the substance by his employer, Walmart.

The news last November he'd been terminated was devastating for Casias, 29, who took great pride in his job, once earning the honor of Associate of the Year.

"It hurts. It hurts because I care. I care a lot about the store. I always wanted to make sure I do well," he told ABC News.

Casias started taking the medicine last June to cope with pain from sinus cancer and a brain tumor. He says the rare form of cancer causes him pain constantly and he almost died when he was first diagnosed.

Casias sprained his knee at work last November and underwent the routine drug test that follows all workplace injuries. Questioned about his positive test, Casias told management about his condition and presented a state card authorizing his marijuana use for medical purposes, but he was fired anyway. Casias says management told him Walmart does not honor medical marijuana cards.

"I just can't believe that it has to be this way. I don't see why they have to fire me," he said.

Michigan is one of 14 states where medical marijuana is legal, but employers in the Wolverine state can and do terminate employees who fail drug tests. Walmart policy, like the policy of other companies, indicates that in states such as Michigan which allow marijuana use for medical purposes, the store can still terminate an employee following a positive drug test. The law in Michigan says employers do not have to accommodate the ingestion of marijuana in the workplace or employees working while under the influence.
Walmart is right.

The issue is workers who are on the job under the influence. But I'm impressed that Walmart's bucking the larger trend toward cultural breakdown and the permissiveness of abuse. Here's hoping we see like outcomes in additional cases like this one.


Anonymous said...

Principle?? Have you seen all the tweakers that work at Wal-Mart?!?!?!?

bbresee said...

Even though state law gives some protection medicinal patients, due to federal law, in almost every ruling judges have decided in favor of the employer. Employees that test positive on a drug test have very little protection from firing. With a solid precedent from a number of other firing cases, most judges will continue to side with the employer unless the law changes.
I found this presentation from Green Streets and Chuck Passaglia helpful, as it takes a case by case look at judicial decisions on medical marijuana in the workplace and how the law is currently interpreted for employers, managers, and employees that are medical marijuana patients:

Dan R. said...

If you read the stories, you'll notice he actually wasn't under the influence while on the job. He tested positive for metabolites, which stay in the body for weeks after use.

Also, this guy has sinus cancer and a tumor the size of a softball was taken out of his neck a while back, so it's not like he's some Venice beach stoner with "headaches." He's legit.