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Thread: Man sues walmart over medipot firing

  1. #1

    Default Man sues walmart over medipot firing

    DETROIT A man who uses medical marijuana to treat symptoms of an inoperable brain tumor and cancer claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday he was wrongfully fired from a Walmart store in Michigan after testing positive for the drug.
    Joseph Casias was fired last year after five years on the job in Battle Creek despite being legally registered with the state to use the drug, according to the lawsuit against the world's largest retailer in state court.
    Casias, 30, said he didn't use marijuana at work or come to work under the influence. Scott Michelman, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the lawsuit aims to test the extent that Michigan's law protects employees.
    "No patient should be forced to choose between adequate pain relief and gainful employment, and no employer should be allowed to intrude upon private medical choices made by employees in consultation with their doctors," Michelman said.
    Michigan voters approved medical marijuana use in 2008. Federal law still prohibits the sale and cultivation of the drug.
    Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said in a statement that it is an "unfortunate situation all around." It said it is sympathetic to Casias' condition but said it is an issue of customer and employee safety.
    "The doctor prescribed treatment was not the relevant issue. The issue is about the ability of our associates to do their jobs safely," the company said. "As more states allow this treatment, employers are left without any guidelines except the federal standard."
    Casias' drug test was given after he injured his knee at work in November, but the positive result on the urine test only indicated drug use in recent days or weeks, according to the lawsuit in Calhoun County Circuit Court. Casias said the injury had nothing to do with marijuana use; he simply stepped the wrong way.
    Fourteen states provide protections for patients who use marijuana as recommended by a doctor. While still illegal under federal law, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last year the Obama administration would relax prosecution guidelines. Some state courts, however, haven't upheld employee protections.
    In April, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that an employer is not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana, saying state law is trumped by federal law. And in recent years, state supreme courts in Montana and California have ruled that medical marijuana laws don't protect employees from being fired for using the drug.
    The ACLU argues, however, said Michigan's law more explicitly protects employees from being disciplined for legally using medical marijuana. It said that includes Casias' case, but not those who use the drug at work, for example.
    Casias' cancer has been in remission for nine years, but the married father of two's medical condition interferes with his ability to speak and causes pain. He said the use of medical marijuana, which was recommended by his oncologist after the law took effect, has decreased his pain without nausea that accompanied a previous medication.
    "For some people, working at Wal-Mart is just a job, but for me, it was a way of life," Casias, of Battle Creek, said in a statement. "I came to Wal-Mart for a better opportunity for my family and I worked hard and proved myself. I just want the opportunity to continue my work."
    The ACLU and its Michigan branch represent Casias along with attorney Daniel W. Grow in the lawsuit against Wal-Mart and a store manager.
    The Associated Press: Medical marijuana user sues over Walmart firing

    This could be huge for medical marijuana users in michigan.

  2. #2


    Hope this guy gets his job back. He seems like he really enjoyed it

  3. #3


    This will be interesting to watch and see how it plays out in the courts. As its going to be a clear battle between the federal and state level laws. But knowing wal-mart they may just settle out of court to try and keep the damage as small as possible. As once this hits the national media they will have to do lots of PR to control any spin that may get put on this topic

  4. #4


    It's sort of too bad this only applies in Michigan. The way the law is word it prevents any reproductions from the use of medical cannabis. The challenge arouse when they challenged the firing based on the fact that loosing ones job is a punishment for using medical marijuana.

    So, if this guy actually in it for his rights then there will be no settling out of court. He'll pursue this until he either gets rehired or looses the lawsuit.

    This is going to an interesting case to follow.

  5. #5


    It's hard to say where this will go. I'm pretty sure Wallyworld has a stated policy, and probably did when this guy was hired about drug testing and what they would be testing for, AND what the outcome would be for failing those tests. I'll bet they even have a signed employee agreement to that fact.

    Personally, having had employees who use cannabis it was always quite obvious, even if they had not used it for hours. Inattentiveness, lack of focus, poor responsiveness were the most outstanding issues. I suppose there are companies and customers who are ok with such things, but I know for a fact our customers weren't.

    I don't know the particulars of the Michigan law, but until the federal law changes, you're really sorta up a creek. Thus your local federal lawmaker needs to be talked with, not the courts with a suit that I really feel is rather a waste of time and money.

  6. #6


    Well, it's been made pretty clear that federal drug laws supersede state drug laws in a lot of other cases, so I don't see how this one would be particularly different. Ultimately, it shows that the Obama administration compromise on drug prohibitions isn't good enough. It needs to be made legal at the federal level, otherwise these state actions of legalizing (for medical use or otherwise) are pretty much pointless.

    Come on Obama, you admitted you inhaled frequently, time to show us you learned something from it! Yes, the Republicans will put up a fight, but those whining jackasses won't be happy no matter what you do, so stop trying to please them!

  7. #7


    This case will become mute sadly because dad won't live long enough to see its way through the slow court system. It poses another interesting question, and one that my wife experienced her last year of working. Can a person who is very ill be terminated from their job because their illness affects their ability to do their job.

    The last year that my wife worked, which was last year, she got around on her electric cart, and she dialyzed at home on a dialysis machine. She was very sleep deprived, yet she taught special ed. math quite effectively. Our principal does not like sick individuals. I think they make him nervous. He hounded my wife on every tiny aspect of teaching, constantly nit picking. I could have cheerfully pounded him into oblivion. At the end of the year my wife simply retired on full disability, but she was treated very badly by him. I take some satisfaction in knowing that what comes around goes around. They day will come when he will be very sick with something. He will get no sympathy from me. As for the ass holes at WalMart, their time is coming, and the grim reaper waits just around the corner.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by babibear View Post
    Personally, having had employees who use cannabis it was always quite obvious, even if they had not used it for hours. Inattentiveness, lack of focus, poor responsiveness were the most outstanding issues. I suppose there are companies and customers who are ok with such things, but I know for a fact our customers weren't.
    I've worked with people who eat a lot of bread. It's obvious because of their inattentiveness, lack of focus and poor responsiveness. It's frustrating to see firsthand what bread is doing to our youth. However, I don't agree with people who want to outright ban bread - people will always find away to eat bread, as history has taught us.

  9. #9


    Medical mj is a godsend for terminal patients and shold be legal and taxed federally

  10. #10


    Devils advocate mode

    Ok so if this individual needs MJ for pain relief thats fine and most folks support it. BUT look at his statements: He claims he wasn't high at work:"Casias, 30, said he didn't use marijuana at work or come to work under the influence."

    If his pain is so great that standard pain medicine isn't effective but MJ is, than how was he able to function at work, since the pain was so great that he needed weed to help with it? Now there may be more to this since I don't know much about pain therapy in end stage cancer patients, my wife does so I will ask her when she gets home. Like I said, just playing devils advocate here because if it becomes ok for this guy to be stoned outside of work than that sets a precedent that tells all companies that they have no right to interfere with or make rules against any behavior outside of work, like heavy alcohol use and smoking tobacco. (yes these nanny state corporations exist)

    The real question is WHY THE HELL IS WEED ILLEGAL BUT BOOZE ARE OK!!!! sorry....

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