Thursday, April 7, 2011

MMJ patient fired despite making patient status known to employer

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 10:12 PM

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Local civil rights attorney Greg Givens got in touch with the Indy Thursday to let us know about one of his clients, a medical marijuana patient who was hired by a call center, drug-tested and later fired after testing positive for marijuana, despite providing the human resources manager his red card. We've asked for the client's and company's identity; Givens says he'll check with the client and possibly provide that Friday.

Regardless, here's what we know so far, via emails exchanged Thursday with Givens. His client — who became an MMJ patient in April 2010 due to a work-related accident in 2001, which the attorney says caused debilitating pain and sciatica — applied for a job as a call center representative and advised an HR employee at that time that he was a patient.

"The HR employee suggested that he keep this information to himself," Givens writes. "After the interview, he was given the address and telephone number of a testing lab called Sterling Diagnostics for a pre-employment drug urinalysis. Upon arrival, but before taking the UA, my client called the company’s HR department and spoke with an HR manager (the person who offered him the job), telling her that he uses marijuana, that he uses marijuana for medical purposes, and that he would test positive for marijuana. The HR manager told him that he would be the 'test case.'"

Givens' client, of course, tested positive for marijuana so, after being notified by SD, called the HR manager who told him that if he didn't hear from her, he was to report for work beginning Monday, Sept. 27 of last year.

"On Monday, my client reported for work to commence his three-week training," writes Givens. "At lunch that day, the HR manager asked for his medical marijuana registry card, which he gave to her before returning for work.

"On Wednesday, the HR director called my client at home and informed him that he had tested positive for marijuana. My client responded that he had tested positive for medical marijuana, that he was authorized to use medical marijuana under Colorado law, and that his registry card was on file with the company. The HR director told him that it didn’t matter, and that his employment was terminated effective immediately due to violation of company policy."

A trial court is currently considering the company's motion to dismiss the case; if dismissed, Givens says he's ready to immediately appeal the order.

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