It’s been 10 years since New Jersey first permitted residents to use marijuana for certain medical purposes. Nevertheless, a stigma remains surrounding the use of marijuana, even when used properly and for legitimate medical reasons. Sometimes, that stigma bleeds over into workplace discrimination. For New Jersey workers in that position, a recent ruling from the state Supreme Court is a huge win. The new ruling makes it clear that people who suffer workplace discrimination due to their proper use of medical marijuana may pursue – and win – disability discrimination lawsuits under the Law Against Discrimination. If you’ve suffered harm at work because of your employer’s disapproval of your proper use of medical marijuana, let this ruling be a motivation not to suffer in silence. Instead, call upon an experienced New Jersey disability discrimination attorney to investigate your legal options.
The case involved a North Jersey funeral director who had cancer. As part of the director’s cancer treatment, his doctor had prescribed medical marijuana. The employer found out about the director’s medical marijuana use after the director was injured in an on-the-job vehicle accident. (While working a funeral, the director had been struck by another driver who ran a stop sign.) The director clearly “was not under the influence of marijuana” at the time of the accident, according to the doctor who treated him.
Nevertheless, the funeral home fired the director. The director sued the funeral home for disability discrimination. The trial judge concluded that the director had no case, but the Appellate Division court reversed that decision and allowed the director to go forward.