The New Jersey Appellate Division recently held that an employee could bring a cause of action against an employer under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) when he or she uses medical marijuana and is not attempting to use it at the workplace.  The court found that this is not in conflict with the state’s Compassionate Use Act mandate that employers do not need to accommodate medical marijuana users in the workplace.  Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc.

The court looked at the legislative intent and found that while there was no intent to expand employee’s rights, there was also no intent to destroy any rights already available under the LAD.  In this case, the employee was not seeking to use marijuana at work.  Rather, he sought for his employer to accommodate his legal use of medical marijuana outside of his job.

New Jersey employers should revisit their drug free work policies and ensure they are in compliance with the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, as well as the Compassionate Use Act.

There are now six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Arizona, and New Jersey) that have specifically ruled in favor of the employee, alleging discrimination based on medical marijuana use.  With additional states regularly passing new marijuana laws, there is no doubt more challenges will be brought.  Employers should be very familiar not only with their own state’s laws regarding marijuana, but also about any cases brought under them and use that information when reviewing their policies and procedures.

 

For more information about marijuana laws in your state, please visit our Resource Library

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