Federal Judge Stops Attacks On Drug Free Work Place Efforts
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Don Scharg, of Bodman LLP, wrote an article for MITA's Cross Section magazine that will be issued Spring 2011. Get a sneak preview of what the article will entail below.
MITA members received some encouraging assistance, from a western Michigan federal judge, in their efforts toward the goal of a drug free work place, a goal which protects the health and safety of their employees. On February 11, 2010, a federal judge in Grand Rapids ruled in Casias v Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. that a licensed medical marijuana user, terminated for a positive drug test, could not sue his employer for wrongful discharge under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act ("MMMA").
According to the federal judge, the purpose of the MMMA was to provide a “potential defense to criminal prosecution or other adverse action by the state.” This means that the MMMA protects licensed medical marihuana users against potential criminal prosecution, loss of state-granted licenses (such as a master electrician license), or other adverse action by the state. It was not meant to protect employees against discharge after testing positive for marihuana in a drug test.
This is one decision, by one judge, and it is not binding on any other federal and state judge. Any other judge, faced with a similar lawsuit filed by a different discharged employee could come to a different conclusion. Until some finality on the scope of the MMMA is reached, MITA members should contact MITA's professional staff for guidance when presented with a positive drug test from an employee with a MMMA license.