Monday 11 November 2019

Amazon fired me for failing drug test even though I’m a medical marijuana patient, N.J. man’s lawsuit says

A Parlin man is suing Amazon after he said he was fired from his warehouse job for failing a drug test — even though he claims he had a valid medical marijuana card.
The man, who is only identified in court documents as D.J.C, charges that his civil rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act when he was terminated from the Amazon warehouse on Route 27 in Edison. His lawsuit says he was prescribed medical marijuana after being diagnosed with anxiety and a panic disorder.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gov. Phil Murphy in March 2018 expanded the list of conditions that could qualify to be treated with medical marijuana. Anxiety was added to that list.
The lawsuit said the man was “deprived of his salary, benefits, financial security, loss of enjoyment of work, suffered and continues to suffer compensatory and pecuniary damages and losses, emotional distress, anxiety, sleeplessness, humiliation, embarrassment, nervous anguish, mental and emotional upset, and has had his civil rights violated.”
The man started working as a warehouse associate in February 2017 and was never disciplined for any reason before his termination, the suit says. In July 2018, he said he was notified that he had to do a random oral fluid drug test and was sent to AmCare, an office within the Edison fulfillment center.
D.J.C attempted to tell the collector, who was not identified in the suit, which prescriptions he was taking, the lawsuit said. It said he was told he could have an opportunity to disclose his prescriptions if he got a positive result.
A month later, the lawsuit said, an Amazon human resources representative at the Edison warehouse told him he was being terminated for failing the drug test. D.J.C showed the HR consultant his valid medical marijuana card, according to the lawsuit.
The man was then told he was not being terminated, but instead had to leave work temporarily on paid leave until he got a physician to sign a certification of fitness, the lawsuit said. His suit claims, however, that he wasn’t paid for the shift he had worked on the day of the meeting.
He was also told that “Amazon Accommodations” personnel would reach out within 24 hours to advise him if any other paperwork was required, the lawsuit said. His suit claims no one ever reached out to him.
About two days later, D.J.C.'s physician completed the paperwork showing that he was fit for work and that he used medical marijuana for a valid disability, the lawsuit said. When the man reached out to Amazon accommodations personnel, he was told his paperwork would be attached with his file to local HR, the suit said.
Less than a week after he was put on leave, the man was told that he was officially being terminated for failing to notify anyone of his medical marijuana prescription prior to the test, according to the lawsuit.
It’s unclear when his doctor’s paperwork was submitted. The suit says he submitted paperwork to a general Amazon accommodations email address about a day after the second meeting with human resources at the Edison office. Another Amazon HR representative called him six days later to inform him, again, that he was terminated, the suit says.
The suit claims D.J.C. was blacklisted from companies that are owned by Amazon. He claims he attempted to apply to Whole Foods, but the store told him he wouldn’t be considered due to his termination from Amazon.
A state appeals court in April ruled in a separate case that employees can’t be fired if they flunk a drug test if they’re medical marijuana patients. The state Supreme Court agreed to hear that case this summer.

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