Medical Marijuana Not a Means of Discrimination in the Workplace!
Article Written by Anastasia Hoffmann
For the first time in the state of Connecticut, a qualifying patient of medical marijuana has been legally protected from discrimination from their employer. See Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company Co. LLC, 273 F. Supp. 3d 326 (D. Conn. 2017). Under the Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA), the anti-discrimination provision prohibits the discharge or a refusal to hire an individual based on the sole reason of that person’s status as a qualifying patient of medical marijuana. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-408p(b)(3).
The plaintiff in this case applied for a position at a health and rehabilitation facility. After receiving a job offer, the plaintiff was required to undergo a background check and drug screening. Despite the fact that the plaintiff disclosed to the company that she was a qualifying patient for medical marijuana to treat her PTSD, after her drug screening came back positive, the company rescinded the job offer the day before the plaintiff was to begin working. The court granted summary judgment for the plaintiff’s claim ruling that the defendant discriminated against her by revoking the job offer only after the drug screening came back positive. See Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company Co.
The court ruled that under PUMA’s anti-discrimination provision, an individual’s status as a qualifying patient of medical marijuana, as well as that individual’s actual use of medical marijuana and/or of synthetic medical marijuana, are both protected rights under PUMA. However, it is important to note that PUMA does not protect an individual’s use of medical marijuana in the workplace. An employer has the right to discipline any qualifying medical marijuana user if they are under the influence while at work. See Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company Co.
If you or someone you know, has been denied or refused a job because they are a current medical marijuana card holder and need assistance resolving that wrongful action, contact Employee Rights, we are here to help!