Maine Woman, Fired for Using Medical Marijuana, Sues Ex-Employer

A Pittsfield woman has sued a former employer for not rehiring her after she told them she uses marijuana for medical reasons.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and Augusta attorney Walter McKee filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Somerset County Superior Court on behalf of Brittany Thomas against Adecco Group North America, a global temporary staffing and recruiting agency.

“No patient should be forced to choose between the pain relief she needs to live a normal life and the employment she needs to support her family,” said Zachary Heiden, legal director for the ACLU of Maine. “And no employer should be forcing itself into the middle of a decision best made by a patient and her doctor.”

Thomas, 24, had been employed with Adecco in September and October 2011 and was assigned to United Technologies Corporation in Pittsfield where she assembled smoke detectors. She was let go when there was no more work, but was called back months later and asked to return to work. Thomas was eight months pregnant at the time and told them she would have to wait until at least a month after the baby was born.

Prior to the pregnancy, she suffered from severe back pain caused by arthritis, bulging discs, an annular tear and a pinched nerve, among other things. She said she was originally prescribed narcotic pain medication that had side effects and failed to relieve her pain. She stopped taking the drugs while pregnant and after she gave birth in March 2012, didn’t want to go back to narcotics. Her doctor suggested medical marijuana.

By early April, she was a certified medical marijuana patient. She had been using for a short time when she went back to Adecco for work and she disclosed the fact to her employer.

Once the test came back positive, though, Thomas was told she would not be rehired.

– Read the entire article at Portland Press Herald.