An appeals court in the state of Pennsylvania has ruled that an employee who was terminated because of her medical use of marijuana can sue her former employer under state law.
Pamela Palmiter, who had worked as a medical assistant for the Scranton Quincy Clinic Co. LLC after it was acquired by her former employer was a medical marijuana user – which was permitted under state medical marijuana law, according to Thursday's ruling by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in Scranton Scranton Quincy Clinic Co., LLC et al. v. Pamela Palmiter.
In January 2019, she applied for a job within the company as a certified medical assistant and took an employment-related drug test even though she had stated that she was a medical marijuana user. She was still told that she could not work at the hospital based on her drug test.
Ms. Palmiter brought an action against the company on charges including violations of MMA, on the basis of the law prescribed a private right of appeal and that she was wrongfully released due to violations of public order.
The district court ruled in her favor in these matters but agreed with the hospital to have them dealt with by a state appellate court.
"Although the (Pennsylvania) General Assembly did not expressly create a private right of action on behalf of an employee whose employer discriminated against her for medical marijuana use, it declared a public order prohibiting such discrimination," the Court of Appeal ruled.
In addition, we find further indications that the legislature intended to create a private remedy for violations (of a provision in the Medical Marijuana Act), which focuses on protecting employee-patients who are certified to use medical marijuana, such as Palmiter, from employers who would punish them in order to take advantage of the benefits of the charter ", it is stated in the judgment said when referring the case for further proceedings.
In June, Pennsylvania lawmakers enacted legislation that would free workers compensation insurers or self-insured entities from having to provide coverage for or reimburse the cost of medical marijuana.