Pubdate: Fri, 2 Jul 2010
Source: New York Daily News (NY)
Copyright: 2010 Daily News, L.P.
Author: Aliyah Shahid, Daily News Staff Writer
Cited: ACLU Drug Law Reform Project
Referenced: Casias v. Wal-Mart


Joseph Casias might just feel like a dope for doping -- even though 
it was legal.

The Michigan father of two sued Walmart this week for firing him 
after he tested positive for medical marijuana -- which he was using 
to alleviate pain from a brain tumor and sinus cancer.

Casias, 30, was canned late last year after five years on the job in 
Battle Creek.

According to the complaint, Casias tested positive for marijuana in a 
drug test administered after he injured his knee at work, under a 
Walmart policy that requires employees injured on the job to take the test.

Casias, who won an associate of the year award at the store in 2008, 
has been using marijuana on his oncologist's advice after Michigan 
voters passed a law approving the drug's medical use in 2008.

"Joseph is an example of a patient for whom marijuana has had a 
life-changing positive effect," the complaint states.

A Walmart spokesman said he sympathized with Casias, but defended the 

"Like other companies, we have to consider the overall safety of our 
customers and our associates, including Mr. Casias, when making a 
difficult decision like this," said Greg Rossiter.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also filed a lawsuit against 
the nation's largest retailer.

"No patient should be forced to choose between adequate pain relief 
and gainful employment," Scott Michelman, a staff attorney with the 
ACLU Drug Law Reform Project told CNN. "And no employer should be 
allowed to intrude upon private medical choices made by employees in 
consultation with their doctors."

Michigan is an at-will employment state, which means any employer can 
fire a worker for any reason unless it falls under a federally 
protected category, like race, gender or religion. The ACLU is 
arguing legal medial marijuana users should also be included.

According to the complaint, Casias wants to be rehired and is seeking 
compensatory and punitive damages. 
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