November 09, 2019
A New Jersey man is suing Amazon in federal court, claiming the mega company fired him because he used medical marijuana prescribed by a medical professional.
The man, who is identified only as D.J.C. in the lawsuit, filed the suit last month in Middlesex County Superior Court. The lawsuit was moved to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on Friday, per the New Jersey Law Journal.
D.J.C. claims in the lawsuit that he was prescribed medical marijuana for anxiety and panic disorders, and that he had legally obtained a medical marijuana card. Use of medical marijuana to treat certain conditions has been legal in New Jersey since 2010.
But when D.J.C. failed a drug test in August of 2018, he claims he was fired immediately, despite attempting to explain to his supervisors that he was using marijuana medicinally. He also claims that Amazon didn't give him an opportunity to disclose prescription medications prior to completing the drug test, even though he was told he would be able to disclose prescriptions if his tests came back positive.
After further trying to explain his situation, D.J.C. was told he would be placed on paid leave rather than fired, but was then fired because he "failed to notify" the company of his medical marijuana use before the drug test occurred.
D.J.C. is seeking reinstatement, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, along with attorney's fees and costs. He claims he's suffered a "protracted period of unemployment, emotional distress, and has been permanently damaged in his economic potential" as a result of Amazon's decision to fire him.
Walter Dana Venneman, a New Jersey lawyer representing D.J.C., told the Law Journal he believes that Amazon's apparent "blanket prohibition" on employees using medical marijuana is "flatly illegal".