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Amazon sued over firing of medical marijuana patient who failed drug test

The Amazon logo is projected onto a screen at a press conference on September 6, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
The Amazon logo is projected onto a screen at a press conference on September 6, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) (Getty)

A New Jersey man is suing Amazon after he said he was fired from his warehouse job for failing a drug test even though he is a medical marijuana patient.

The man, identified in court documents as D.J.C., alleges that his civil rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The man claims in the lawsuit obtained by NJ.com that he was prescribed medical marijuana for anxiety and panic disorders, and that he has a legally obtained medical marijuana card.

Use of medical marijuana to treat certain conditions has been legal in New Jersey since 2010. In March 2018, the state added anxiety to the list of conditions that could be treated with medical marijuana.

D.J.C. says he started working as a warehouse associate at the Edison, New Jersey fulfillment center in February 2017. He claims he was never disciplined for any reason prior to his termination.

In July 2018, D.J.C. was notified that he had to do a random oral fluid drug test, according to the lawsuit. He says he attempted to tell the collector which prescriptions he was taking, but was told that he would have the opportunity to disclose his prescriptions if he got a positive result.

A month later, an Amazon human resources representative told D.J.C. he was being terminated for failing his drug test, the lawsuit says. When he showed the representative his valid medical marijuana card, he was allegedly told he wouldn’t be terminated, but placed on paid leave until he got a certification of fitness from a physician.

The man claims he was not paid for the shift he had worked on the day of the meeting with human resources.

Less than a week after being placed on paid leave, D.J.C. was notified that he was being terminated because he failed to notify anyone of his medical marijuana prescription prior to the test, the lawsuit says.

D.J.C. is seeking reinstatement, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, along with attorney’s fees and costs, reports Philly Voice.

Walter Dana Venneman, a lawyer representing D.J.C., told the New Jersey Law Journal he believes that Amazon’s actions are “flatly illegal."

A New Jersey appeals court ruled in April that employees in the state cannot be fired for failing a drug test if they are medical marijuana patients. The state Supreme Court over the summer agreed to hear the case.

In July, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a law stating that "it shall be unlawful to take any adverse employment action against an employee who is a registered qualifying [medical marijuana patient] based solely on the employee’s status as a registrant with the commission.”


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