An Arizona federal judge has denied part of a motion filed by Walmart regarding the company’s termination of an employee injured on the job because she, as an Arizona medical marijuana cardholder, legally had marijuana in her system. The judge noted that Walmart disregarded protections within the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).
The injured employee said she’d used medical marijuana 12 hours prior to her scheduled shift, Business Insurance reports. The injury report did not state that any improper job duty practices led to the injury.
In testimony, the Walmart personnel coordinator said, “Upon reasonable belief [the employee’s] positive test result for marijuana indicated that she was impaired by marijuana during her shift that same day.”
The only reason for termination given in the employee’s termination records point to her positive drug test. The employee filed a wrongful termination lawsuit citing that the company violated the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and Arizona civil rights laws.
The ruling specifically noted that, “… as Plaintiff points out, terminating a registered qualifying patient who tests positive for marijuana ‘regardless of whether the employee possesses a medical marijuana card and regardless of the level of marijuana detected’ constitutes a ‘complete and bright line disregard for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act’s antidiscrimination provisions[.]’”
The ruling, in part, said, “Indeed, (parts of the) AMMA protects qualifying registered patients, like Plaintiff, who merely test positive for marijuana metabolites. Without any evidence that Plaintiff used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana at work on (the day of her accident) it is clear that Defendant discriminated against Plaintiff in violation of…the AMMA by suspending and then terminating Plaintiff solely based on her positive drug screen.”
Walmart has not yet commented on their plans moving forward regarding employees who are Arizona medical marijuana patients.
Section 36-2813 of the AMMA reads, in part:
B. Unless a failure to do so would cause an employer to lose a monetary or licensing related benefit under federal law or regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination or imposing any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person based upon either:
1. The person’s status as a cardholder.
2. A registered qualifying patient’s positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment.