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View Full Version : U.S. Issues Wal Mart: Save Money, Live Better, You're Fired.


gblowfish
07-03-2010, 11:18 AM
http://tinyurl.com/2933anq
Wal-Mart worker, fired for legal pot smoking, sues
Reuters

Thu Jul 1, 12:39 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) A Michigan man has sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc for firing him after he tested positive for medical marijuana he was using legally to treat pain from an inoperable brain tumor and sinus cancer.

Joseph Casias, 30, said he was fired late last year after five years of employment at a Wal-Mart store in his hometown of Battle Creek.

According to a complaint filed Tuesday with the Calhoun County District Court, Casias began using marijuana on his oncologist's recommendation after Michigan voters had approved medical marijuana use in 2008.

But the married father of two tested positive in a drug test given after he had twisted his knee at work, under a Wal-Mart policy requiring tests for all employees injured on the job, the complaint said.

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

Wal-Mart, "because it does not approve of the lawful medical treatment that relieves his pain, made him pay a stiff and unfair price," it added.

Greg Rossiter, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the world's largest retailer was "sympathetic to Mr. Casias' condition," but defended the actions taken.

"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," he said. "In this case, the doctor-prescribed treatment was not the relevant issue."

Wal-Mart is based in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Hired as a grocery stocker in 2004, Casias rose to become inventory control manager, and was named the Battle Creek store's associate of the year in 2008, the complaint said.

Fourteen U.S. states and the District of Columbia protect patients who use marijuana on doctors' recommendations, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which helped Casias bring his case.

Still, within the last three years, state courts in California, Montana, Oregon and Washington have said employers need not accommodate users of medical marijuana, whose use remains illegal under federal law, court records show.

Casias is seeking an order that he be rehired, compensatory and punitive damages and other remedies.

The case is Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc et al, Circuit Court of Calhoun County, Michigan.

RJ
07-03-2010, 11:22 AM
Dude could go home and down a 6 pack and a quart of vodka every night and still have his job but he can't go home and smoke prescription pot. Seems odd to me.

Baby Lee
07-03-2010, 11:34 AM
Michigan is an at will state.

The question is going to come down to if severing employment is a disciplinary action. I'd say no.

kcfanXIII
07-03-2010, 12:33 PM
its discrimination. the guy had a legal prescription for the herb, and no employer can discriminate based on disabilities. seems pretty cut and dry to me.

BigChiefFan
07-03-2010, 12:40 PM
He is FULLY within the law of the state in which he resides. Sounds like Wal-Mart is screwed. I hope this case sets a precedent, too.

Brock
07-03-2010, 01:16 PM
If he had tested positive for prescribed oxycontin would he have still been fired? I doubt it.

jjjayb
07-03-2010, 03:44 PM
Legal or not, is smoking marijuana prohibited by company rules? If it is, did he sign off on receiving those rules? There are companies that prohibit cigarette smokers. Not being a smoker is a condition of employment. But then again, I'm not a lawyer either.

The Mad Crapper
07-03-2010, 03:46 PM
I'm watching the World Cup on Telemundo--- you should see the Walmart commercials, they are tapping in on the lucrative money gram business where Mexicans send all of our American cash out of the country and into theirs.

Brock
07-03-2010, 04:34 PM
Legal or not, is smoking marijuana prohibited by company rules? If it is, did he sign off on receiving those rules? There are companies that prohibit cigarette smokers. Not being a smoker is a condition of employment. But then again, I'm not a lawyer either.

When was the last time a doctor prescribed tobacco?

Baby Lee
07-03-2010, 05:17 PM
When was the last time a doctor prescribed tobacco?
When was the last time anyone here familiarized themselves with the phrase 'at will employment?'

Brock
07-03-2010, 05:22 PM
When was the last time anyone here familiarized themselves with the phrase 'at will employment?'

It doesn't sound very interesting to talk about.

Baby Lee
07-03-2010, 05:43 PM
It doesn't sound very interesting to talk about.

Guess we can close the thread then.

Dallas Chief
07-03-2010, 05:53 PM
I'm watching the World Cup on Telemundo--- you should see the Walmart commercials, they are tapping in on the lucrative money gram business where Mexicans send all of our American cash out of the country and into theirs.

Just curious. Is that illegal? Is it really any different than buying something that says made in Mexico? Or china? Or??? Something to think about I guess.

listopencil
07-03-2010, 06:19 PM
Legal or not, is smoking marijuana prohibited by company rules? If it is, did he sign off on receiving those rules? There are companies that prohibit cigarette smokers. Not being a smoker is a condition of employment. But then again, I'm not a lawyer either.

Yes, he signed a document stating that if he tested positive for any illegal substance he would face disciplinary action up to and including termination as part of his hiring process. By the way- I work for Wal-Mart in a warehouse. My wife was prescribed medical marijuana a few months ago. I explained the situation to my immediate supervisor and asked if I would be fired if I got a prescription and tested positive. He told me that he didn't know what would happen. "Coincidentally" I happened to be selected for the next two random drug screenings after not being tested for almost fourteen years.

listopencil
07-03-2010, 06:22 PM
Michigan is an at will state.

The question is going to come down to if severing employment is a disciplinary action. I'd say no.

Within the company this phrased is used often- "...disciplinary action up to and including termination." when policy is discussed. I would imagine that Wal-Mart views termination as a disciplinary action.

listopencil
07-03-2010, 06:24 PM
Dude could go home and down a 6 pack and a quart of vodka every night and still have his job but he can't go home and smoke prescription pot. Seems odd to me.

If there is a reasonable suspicion that you are working while under the effects of alcohol you may be required to submit to a blood alcohol test. If you are found to be under the influence you will face disciplinary action up to and including termination.

BigMeatballDave
07-03-2010, 06:26 PM
its discrimination. the guy had a legal prescription for the herb, and no employer can discriminate based on disabilities. seems pretty cut and dry to me.Pun intended? :D

listopencil
07-03-2010, 06:27 PM
If he had tested positive for prescribed oxycontin would he have still been fired? I doubt it.

Legal prescription drugs have warnings like "Do not operate heavy machinery...' etc. Even if you are under the effects of a legal precription medication that you have a valid prescription for, and you do not comply with the warning labels, you will face disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Brock
07-03-2010, 11:42 PM
Legal prescription drugs have warnings like "Do not operate heavy machinery...' etc. Even if you are under the effects of a legal precription medication that you have a valid prescription for, and you do not comply with the warning labels, you will face disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Who said anything about not complying with the warning labels?

Brock
07-03-2010, 11:47 PM
Guess we can close the thread then.

Or you could just check out.

ForeverChiefs58
07-04-2010, 12:13 AM
its discrimination. the guy had a legal prescription for the herb, and no employer can discriminate based on disabilities. seems pretty cut and dry to me.

Ahhh the problem would be having to go to federal court where it is ruled illegal. fed law trumps state laws.
Hopefully, after it becomes legal in cali in nov. other states will see how lucrative it is and follow, forcing feds to redo drug class and legalize.
Once there is money made from it, its here to stay.

ClevelandBronco
07-04-2010, 12:23 AM
I side with Walmart, but I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to pay the stoner to go away.

ForeverChiefs58
07-04-2010, 12:29 AM
I side with Walmart, but I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to pay the stoner to go away.

just wondering if you feel the same about someone who has to take meds for pain?

ClevelandBronco
07-04-2010, 12:38 AM
just wondering if you feel the same about someone who has to take meds for pain?

If they sign away that option as a condition of employment, you betcha.

ForeverChiefs58
07-04-2010, 10:25 AM
If they sign away that option as a condition of employment, you betcha.

:thumb: Yeah, if I am an employer I don't want the guy that has to be drugged just to get thru the day. But, maybe he is trying to avoid going on disability? hope someone gives him a chance.

prhom
07-04-2010, 12:20 PM
:thumb: Yeah, if I am an employer I don't want the guy that has to be drugged just to get thru the day. But, maybe he is trying to avoid going on disability? hope someone gives him a chance.

I think you hit it on the head here. If you are on pain meds for something you typically go on disability because you're obviously in pain and medicated to the point that you are not completely alert. That means you can't focus on doing your job safely and are a danger to yourself and others. If he can't deal with the pain without pot, then he's in no condition to be working. I'm sure he doesn't want to be on long term disability, but the next question would be if he's even eligible. If you've got an inoperable tumor that's eventually going to kill you what is the policy there? Does anyone know if you get LTD benefits for the rest of your life if you develop a terminal illness?

ClevelandBronco
07-04-2010, 04:06 PM
...I'm sure he doesn't want to be on long term disability...

Yeah. He probably just wants to be on long term pot and a fat settlement.

Brock
07-04-2010, 04:16 PM
I think you hit it on the head here. If you are on pain meds for something you typically go on disability because you're obviously in pain and medicated to the point that you are not completely alert. That means you can't focus on doing your job safely and are a danger to yourself and others.

This is utter nonsense. Pain meds are commonplace for everything from a muscle strain to a kidney stone to a broken toe to a toothache. None of these things call for disability, nor does use of pain medication necessarily make one less than completely alert or not focused on your job or a danger to yourself or others.

prhom
07-04-2010, 04:39 PM
This is utter nonsense. Pain meds are commonplace for everything from a muscle strain to a kidney stone to a broken toe to a toothache. None of these things call for disability, nor does use of pain medication necessarily make one less than completely alert or not focused on your job or a danger to yourself or others.

I'm not talking about advil, I'm talking about the stuff that says you shouldn't drive or operate machinery when you're taking it. If you can't handle a broken toe or a toothache without vicodin then you shouldn't be at work. If folks want to work and smoke pot "medicinally" then they should find a job that lets them do that. There are plenty of places to work where that isn't an issue. They may not make as much money, but life is all about trade-offs.

Brock
07-04-2010, 04:43 PM
I'm not talking about advil, I'm talking about the stuff that says you shouldn't drive or operate machinery when you're taking it. If you can't handle a broken toe or a toothache without vicodin then you shouldn't be at work.

A guy can't stock grocery store shelves while taking his pain meds? Yeah, okay. ROFL

ClevelandBronco
07-04-2010, 04:46 PM
I'm not talking about advil, I'm talking about the stuff that says you shouldn't drive or operate machinery when you're taking it. If you can't handle a broken toe or a toothache without vicodin then you shouldn't be at work. If folks want to work and smoke pot "medicinally" then they should find a job that lets them do that. There are plenty of places to work where that isn't an issue. They may not make as much money, but life is all about trade-offs.

Actually I doubt that there are "plenty" of places to work and use marijuana medicinally. Hell, there just aren't "plenty" of places to work at all right now. What there are plenty of is job candidates who don't need to be stoned. As an employer, I'd choose one of them and clean the stoners out.

prhom
07-04-2010, 07:24 PM
A guy can't stock grocery store shelves while taking his pain meds? Yeah, okay. ROFL

I know I'm not going to convince you otherwise, and you're entitled to your opinion. When you start a company and hire people you can hire all the medical marijuana users you like. The OP said he's now the inventory control manager at that store. I think the company is entitled to having a sober employee show up for work. Especially when that employee is a manager.

Brock
07-04-2010, 07:42 PM
I'm not talking about marijuana in particular. I'm talking about medications in general, and whether or not legitimate pain medications are treated the same way as medical marijuana, even if they are in actuality more dangerous than marijuana. I know that they are not, and it seems to be a double standard.

patteeu
07-05-2010, 10:23 AM
I'm pro medical marijuana and I think Wal Mart ought to re-evaluate their policy, but IMO that's up to them.

Hydrae
07-05-2010, 11:21 AM
Because he uses medical marijuana at all, he would have turned up dirty in the UA. It is no inidication that he is stoned while at work. It just means he has partaken in the last 30 days or so. Unless they can prove he was stoned while working, I think Wal-Mart loses on this one.

HonestChieffan
07-05-2010, 01:28 PM
He is free to find a job where the employer will allow him to be a drug abuser. Wal-Mart and any other employer should be within their rights to can people who use drugs they deem inappropriate.

patteeu
07-05-2010, 01:34 PM
He is free to find a job where the employer will allow him to be a drug abuser. Wal-Mart and any other employer should be within their rights to can people who use drugs they deem inappropriate.

I agree with all of this except the judgment that he's a "drug abuser". The article indicates that he's taken a drug prescribed by a licensed doctor. That's not abuse.

HonestChieffan
07-05-2010, 02:47 PM
I agree with all of this except the judgment that he's a "drug abuser". The article indicates that he's taken a drug prescribed by a licensed doctor. That's not abuse.

OK. Ill give you that. But Im not buying this pot as a medicine thing. It just a way for potheads to be able to get around the fact its an illegal substance. Even if legalized I would expect employers to require employees to pass the pee test of be fired. No one wants potheads working for them.

Saul Good
07-05-2010, 03:03 PM
Because he uses medical marijuana at all, he would have turned up dirty in the UA. It is no inidication that he is stoned while at work. It just means he has partaken in the last 30 days or so. Unless they can prove he was stoned while working, I think Wal-Mart loses on this one.

No chance that Wal-Mart loses this one. There are two problems with your post.

1. If he tested positive, it means that it was in his system. They don't have to prove that he was "stoned" any more than they would have to prove that he was "wasted" if there was alcohol in his blood stream.

2. Medicinal marijuana is illegal in the US. State laws don't invalidate Federal laws. Even if he wasn't breaking a state law, he was breaking a Federal law.

ClevelandBronco
07-05-2010, 03:19 PM
I agree with all of this except the judgment that he's a "drug abuser". The article indicates that he's taken a drug prescribed by a licensed doctor. That's not abuse.

I have no idea if this particular person abuses prescribed marijuana, but the fact that a drug has been prescribed does not remove the opportunity for abuse.

patteeu
07-05-2010, 03:25 PM
OK. Ill give you that. But Im not buying this pot as a medicine thing. It just a way for potheads to be able to get around the fact its an illegal substance. Even if legalized I would expect employers to require employees to pass the pee test of be fired. No one wants potheads working for them.

I think there's a lot of truth to the idea that it's often a way for potheads to get around prohibition, but from close personal experience I can vouch for the effectiveness of pot as medicine. In particular, it is extraordinarily effective (meaning moreso than the normal drugs prescribed) for treating appetite deficiencies and also works well against nausea. I'm not sold on it as a pain medicine though.

patteeu
07-05-2010, 03:26 PM
I have no idea if this particular person abuses prescribed marijuana, but the fact that a drug has been prescribed does not remove the opportunity for abuse.

Agreed, but IMO as long as the drug is being used as prescribed, we should presume a lack of abuse until evidence to the contrary is presented.

ClevelandBronco
07-05-2010, 05:45 PM
Agreed, but IMO as long as the drug is being used as prescribed, we should presume a lack of abuse until evidence to the contrary is presented.

That's certainly a reasonable approach, and I may as well make it clear that I support the use of legal marijuana as a medication.

Assuming that a given individual isn't essential and irreplaceable without damaging the business, I'd fire the guy and not worry about whether or not he abuses the drug.

LaChapelle
07-05-2010, 07:36 PM
I'ts okay to fire a cracker with in city limits 5 days before and after the 4th

listopencil
07-05-2010, 08:05 PM
Who said anything about not complying with the warning labels?

You said that you doubted he would have been fired for taking prescription Oxycontin. I gave you a situation where he would have.

listopencil
07-05-2010, 08:12 PM
I think there's a lot of truth to the idea that it's often a way for potheads to get around prohibition, but from close personal experience I can vouch for the effectiveness of pot as medicine. In particular, it is extraordinarily effective (meaning moreso than the normal drugs prescribed) for treating appetite deficiencies and also works well against nausea. I'm not sold on it as a pain medicine though.

I've seen the same thing.

Dave Lane
07-05-2010, 08:42 PM
I'm pro medical marijuana and I think Wal Mart ought to re-evaluate their policy, but IMO that's up to them.

Holy shit patty that's almost a liberal idea. You surprise me every now and again.

Saul Good
07-05-2010, 08:47 PM
Holy shit patty that's almost a liberal idea. You surprise me every now and again.

I'd categorize it as a true old-time conservative idea. Hell, I favor legalizing it altogether, and I've never so much as taken a puff.

patteeu
07-06-2010, 08:08 AM
Holy shit patty that's almost a liberal idea. You surprise me every now and again.

No need to be insulting about it. ;)

ForeverChiefs58
07-06-2010, 09:36 AM
This was interesting talking about patent different strains of MJ at rutgers univ
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Hydrae
07-06-2010, 10:06 AM
My wife was telling me last night of a similar issue. A friend of hers' daughter was arrested in Salt Lake City for possesion. She had flown out of Portland with her stash and her prescription after her doctor told it would be fine. I hope she puts the doctor on the stand because I doubt Utah will care much about the prescription when they don't allow medical marijuana.

I told my wife that I think this gal is screwed for one simple reason, she transported across state lines and this is now a federal issue.