National Retailer Accused of Violating Drug Testing State Law

Proposed class action alleges that Walmart and Sam's Club rejected applicants with positive cannabis drug tests, violating state law.

Lead plaintiff Erick Zanetich claims the Walmart and Sam's Club revoked a job offer after receiving the results of his drug screen indicating the sample was positive for marijuana. The suit contends that this revocation violates a provision of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act. Namely, the act prohibits employers from rejecting candidates simply based on a positive drug test result for marijuana.

Zanetich's lawsuit was filed in Gloucester County Superior Court on June 13. The suit represents New Jersey residents who since February of 2021 were either fired by Walmart or had job offers rescinded per a positive drug test result for marijuana. This date signifies when the employment section of the cannabis act was passed into law.

Walmart and Sam's Club have since removed into New Jersey federal court. This is partially because the amount of damages sought exceeds the dollar threshold ($75,000). Zanetich is requesting back pay for himself and others. Walmart asserts that between his start date and the time the suit was filed, the plaintiff alone would have earned approximately $24,000.

Employers are encouraged to remain current on changes in legislation affecting employment practices and drug test results. Furthermore, employers need to assess internal hiring protocols to ensure compliance with current regulations regarding drug screening.

Posted: October 11, 2022

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