Worker Accuses Former Employer of Wrongful Termination

Plaintiff alleges that he was unfairly terminated after employer learned of his status as a medical marijuana cardholder.

Filed in late January, 2022, Thomas Berrier's complaint against Valley Proteins, Inc. (Valley) claims that the second shift supervisor was fired as a result of his disabilities and status as a medical marijuana patient. Berrier is suing Valley under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act and Pennsylvania common law.

According to the complaint, management approached the Plaintiff in November 2020, asking if he had ever used marijuana. Berrier responded that he had been issued a valid medical marijuana card and only used the substance after work hours. According to the complaint, Berrier uses medical marijuana to treat PTSD, anxiety and other health problems - all considered "serious health conditions" under Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana Act.

Management inspected the Plaintiff's card and shortly after was fired based on the company's "blanket policy against medical marijuana usage, even if medically prescribed." Per the complaint, Berrier was certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as a qualifying patient and has been a cardholder since September, 2020.

As a second shift supervisor, the complaint states that Berrier rarely used a forklift and "nothing would have prohibited [him] from performing his job effectively or properly just because he consumed marijuana in the evening."

Berrier seeks damages, attorney fees, a jury trial and an order requiring Valley to instate new policies prohibiting future discrimination of this nature.

Employers are encouraged to review the terms of the ADA, specific state marijuana acts and state common laws to ensure compliance as it relates to medical marijuana use.

Posted: February 14, 2022

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