ACLU Bids To Reinstate Suit Over Walmart Firing
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ACLU Bids To Reinstate Suit Over Walmart Firing
Posted by CN Staff on April 27, 2011 at 13:21:11 PT
By Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer
Source: Detroit Free Press 
Michigan -- The American Civil Liberties Union today asked a federal appeals court to revive its lawsuit that claims Walmart wrongfully fired a Battle Creek employee who used medical marijuana to treat a brain tumor and cancer.U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit in February, holding that Michigan’s medical marijuana law does not require companies to accommodate employees who are medical marijuana patients, nor does it prohibit them from firing employees for drug use.
But in a filing today with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the ACLU argued that Jonker got it wrong. Specifically, the ACLU argued that Jonker ignored the text of the state’s medical marijuana law that prohibits businesses from firing patients who use marijuana in accordance with state law. The ACLU also argued that the case belongs in state court where the ACLU originally filed it.The employee in this case is Joseph Casias, a 2008 Associate of the Year at a Walmart in Battle Creek who used marijuana to treat pain associated with an inoperable brain tumor and cancer. Casias was fired from his job after testing positive for marijuana in 2009, which led to the ACLU’s lawsuit.The ACLU argued that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, passed by voters in 2008, protects medical marijuana patients from “disciplinary action by a business.” Moreover, Casias never ingested marijuana while at work, and never worked while under the influence of marijuana, the group argued.“The lower court’s ruling failed to uphold the will of Michigan voters, who clearly wanted to protect medical marijuana and facilitate its use by very sick people like Joseph Casias,” Scott Michelman, staff attorney with the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project, said in a statement. “No one should ever have to choose between adequate pain relief and gainful employment, but Walmart forced Joseph to pay a stiff and unfair price for using a medicine that has had a life-changing positive effect for him.”WalMart defended its decision to fire Casias.“This is just an unfortunate situation all around, and we’re sympathetic to Mr. Casias’s condition,” said WalMart spokesman Greg Rossiter, noting that the decision to fire Casias was a safety issue. “Walmart has to consider the overall safety of our customers and our associates, including Mr. Casias. When we have to make a difficult decision like the one we did, ultimately the issue for us is the ability of our associates to do their jobs safely.”Rossiter said said that while many states do have laws that make medical marijuana legal, the laws offer no guidance to employers on how to deal with employees who test positive for drugs. So when an employee tests positive for marijuana, he said, Walmart defers to federal law, which still does not treat marijuana as a legal drug.“We’re always going to default to what we believe is the safest environment for our associates and customers,” Rossiter said.Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)Author: Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press Staff WriterPublished: April 27, 2011Copyright: 2011 Detroit Free PressWebsite: letters freepress.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on April 27, 2011 at 23:15:53 PT
Joseph Casias
I so hope Mr. Casias gets his job back and all the back pay he's lost. 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 27, 2011 at 19:13:22 PT
You said it like only you can. I agree with you. 
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on April 27, 2011 at 18:56:04 PT
The way some people act about the President...
and claim it's just politics, absolutely creeps me out. They remind me of some sort of seething, mindless mob and that given the chance they would literally consume others with their teeth and bare hands... like ravenous animals. The comments I see around the net make me think there are many mindless and blood thirsty people out there. It's so disturbing and completely disgusting.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 27, 2011 at 17:47:17 PT
I find it very strange to see how weird those who don't appreciate Obama act. I am glad he is our President and has a steady disposition and is very intelligent. That is all I want in a President.
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Comment #1 posted by Vincent on April 27, 2011 at 16:13:27 PT:
Is "safety" REALLY the issue?
“We’re always going to default to what we believe is the safest environment for our associates and customers,” Rossiter said.Oh, why don't prohibitionists like this knucklehead lay off that double-talk about the "safety" of their employees when, in reality, they couldn't care less about them? Why don't they just admit that they don't like herb smokers and that they want to punish them?This reminds me of that other group of knuckleheads who go around saying that they don't believe Obama was native-born. They should just tell the truth...that they don't like Obama and they want him deposed.I would respect them a lot more.
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