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Man with inoperable brain tumor fired for medical marijuana use

Though it is a drug, medical marijuana is absolutely vital for many people dealing with serious or catastrophic conditions. The pain they feel from these adverse medical events is unimaginable, and using medical marijuana allows them to get through the day without feeling that pain all the time.

Depending on the state, the rules regarding medical marijuana vary greatly.

In Michigan, people are allowed to receive medical marijuana prescriptions. But there are no protections for workers regarding how their prescribed drug use, even if used outside the workplace, affects them inside the workplace. That's how a Michigan man with an inoperable form of brain cancer ended up getting fired from his managerial position at Walmart.

Despite claims that he never used the drug on company grounds at any point during his Walmart tenure, he was fired in 2009 because a drug test showed he had marijuana in his system. Walmart said that this conflicted with the company's safety policy, a statement that, while having some logic to it, certainly doesn't have much heart to it.

The man challenged Walmart's decision in federal court, but was denied. It didn't get any better as he took the case to appellate court, where the original decision was upheld.

Medical conditions can have a huge impact on an employee's ability to secure employment. In addition to the physical limitations these conditions can have on an applicant, they can cause financial strife too. Medical bills, hospital stays, prescriptions: they all add up. And without steady work to pay for these things, the individual can suffer greatly.

That's what is so sad about this story. Sure, Walmart may have been within its rights to fire the man -- but to many, this story just doesn't feel "right."

Source: Huffington Post, "Joseph Casias, Cancer Patient Fired By Walmart For Medical Marijuana Use, Loses Appeal," Sept. 20, 2012

  • If a medical complication causes you to be treated differently or unfairly in the workplace, you may consider legal action. To learn more, please visit our Houston employment law page.

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