Can I be denied a job because I am a medical marijuana patient?

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Can I be denied a job because I am a medical marijuana patient?

Went for a job interview at FedEx Office on Wednesday. She said that she wanted to give me a shot and that she wanted me to speak to the general manager. When asked about a drug test I told her that I was. NYS card carrying medical marijuana patient. She said it was. Uncharted territory for her. She tried called her boss and Human Resources with no answer and told me that someone would be getting back to me. I haven’t heard from anyone.

Asked on April 26, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

They cannot refuse to hire you if are a legal medical marijuana patient except that they can refuse to hire you for certan jobs--like driving--which cannot safely be done if you are using certain drugs or medicines, including marijuana. The employer must make a "reasonable accommodation" to your medical condition and medication use and cannot discriminate against you simply for having a condition or using a given medicine or drug. But a "reasonable" accommodation does not include hiring you for a position where the risk of injury, damage, and liability is very high if you are at all impaired--again, like driving--since it is unreasonable to put the employer in the position of having an employe with an enhanced risk of accident.
Note that even in positions where they can't exclude you for being a medical marijuana patient, you can be fired if you:
1) Are impaired at work--regardless of the substance (e.g. marijuana, alcohol, prescription opiods, etc.), if an employee comes to work in an impaired condition, they can be terminated for not being able to work safely or productively.
2) Bring marijuana to work, the same as they could fire you for bringing alcohol to work (even though alcohol is legal for everyone over the age of 21): employers may define what can and cannot be brought to work, and marijuana, even if legal at the state level, is still illegal under federal law--they can refuse to let an illegal drug under federal law into the workplace.


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