Court rules that business violated RI laws by refusing to hire MMj patient. We Won!!! Some of you may recall when the ACLU filed a law suit on behalf of a MMj patient who was being denied employment because she tested positive for THC in a pre-employment drug screen. That was in 2014. RIPAC alerted the ACLU that many RI employers were not following the RI MMj Act which prohibits employer discrimination against MMj patients. Our RI MMj ACT specifically prohibits employers from refusing to employ “a person solely for his or her status as a cardholder”. It was time to stand up and insist that the law be followed. It was difficult to find someone who was willing to sue. Patients looking for jobs were, understandably, not eager to file a law suit . Lucky for us, there was one patient who was willing – Christine Callaghan. The ACLU took the lead and found a volunteer Attorney, Carly Beauvais Iafrate, to litigate. She has been litigating this case for three long years. At last, we have a result. And it is the best result.
The defendant company, Darlington Fabrics Company, argued that they didn’t discriminate against Christine because she was a MMj patient, but because she used MMj. No kidding. Her attorney argued that “a potential employer’s failure to hire a medical marijuana patient because of, or related to, his or her status as a medical marijuana user and/or cardholder” constitutes disability discrimination in violation of the RI Civil Rights Act, and also violates the medical marijuana law, which protects cardholders from discrimination in employment. Judge Licht agreed.
Attorney Iafrate said: “This decision sends a strong message that people with disabilities simply cannot be denied equal employment opportunities because of the medication they take. If employers were permitted to discriminate against those using medical marijuana, then the good work done by those to enact the law will be completely undone. The judge’s decision makes clear that this law is not an empty promise.”
Many many thanks to the ACLU, Carly Beauvais and Christine Callaghan. To read the decision: