A Montana man who was lawfully using marijuana outside of his employer's business, and not during his work time, is suing his employer, the Loaf-n-Jug grocery store, for wrongful termination and discrimination because of his HIV positive status.
In his lawsuit, Mike Babbitt charges that he was legally using marijuana under the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, and passed his employer's pre-employment drug screening test with flying colors. What happened next resulted in Babbitt filing his lawsuit (see below).
After the grocery store manager learned that Babbitt was a legally authorized medical marijuana user under state law, another drug test was performed on all Loaf-n-Jug employees "as a result of an audit."
Not surprisingly, Babbitt's drug tested was positive for marijuana, consistent with his use of the drug under Montana's Medical Marijuana Act.
The Kroger-owned grocery store's policy stated, according to the suit, that:
"Any positive [drug screen] test results will be confirmed as positive by another method and then reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). The MRO will contact the person tested to determine whether there is a legitimate reason for the positive test, such as legally prescribed medication or recent surgery."
Instead of being allowed to explain his medical marijuana usage as being "a legitimate reason for the positive test," Babbitt was fired.
He is seeking $500,000 for wrongful termination and discrimination. You can read Babbit's lawsuit here:
Babbitt is represented by Great Falls, Montana lawyer Mark Frisbie.
With more states enacting medical marijuana laws, the delicate legal dance between companies' drug testing policies and the rights of employees lawfully using medical marijuana under state law, will only get more complicated.
Babbitt's medical marijuana lawsuit is likely to be one of many by employees against their employers.
- Man Claims Wrongful Termination for Using Medical Marijuana, Great Falls Tribune (Mar. 12, 2010)
- The Facts About Drug Testing During the Hiring Stage
- Drugs and Alcohol Testing at Work
- Employee Rights Lawyers, FindLaw
- L.A. Marijuana Dispensary Law Challenged in Court, Reuters (Mar. 3, 2010)
- America's New Touchy-Felly 'War on Drugs,' Reuters (Jan. 21, 2010)