The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is allowing a medical cannabis patient to move forward with a lawsuit alleging her employer wrongfully terminated her for her cannabis use, Bloomberg Law reports.
Donna Hudnell, a former security analyst for Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals Inc., said she was fired after failing a drug test for cannabis despite being a lawfully registered patient. Her employer had argued that Hudnell’s medical cannabis patient card had expired and they had no way of knowing whether her positive test was from cannabis use for medical reasons, the report says. Hudnell was drug tested upon returning from work from spinal surgery and was ultimately fired on the same day her medical cannabis card was re-certified.
In his ruling, Judge Gerald J. Pappert said one of the purposes of the state’s medical cannabis was to protect medical cannabis cardholders from job discrimination and that the state Supreme Court would find the legislature intended to give workers that right despite it not expressly outlining such protections in the 2016 law.
Hudnell, a Black woman, also alleges that a white employee who failed a drug test for cannabis without a medical cannabis card was treated more fairly – allowed to seek drug treatment rather than be fired.
Pappert ruled that while her case can move forward, she must wait until the state Human Rights Commission finished investigating the bias claim or fails to do so for one year until she can refile her claims under the state’s Human Relations Act and Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance.