New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) protects employees from adverse employment actions (being fired or demoted for instance) based on any protected characteristic such as disability, race, gender, age, etc. For employees with disabilities, the LAD has been interpreted by the Courts to require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.
In July of 2019, Governor Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, amending New Jersey’s Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (“CUMMA”). This amendment added several provisions, including that it is now unlawful to take adverse employment action against an employee who is registered as someone permitted to obtain and use medical marijuana. However, this does not protect an employee from being fired or otherwise subject to an adverse employment action for possession of marijuana at work or using during work hours or at the workplace location.
While this is a new law, the Courts have already been coming to much the same decisions. Indeed, in the case of Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., the court considered a case where an employee was fired in 2016 when the employers found out that he used medical marijuana (legally) as part of his cancer treatment/pain management. Plaintiff sued the former employer for unlawful discrimination and failure to accommodate a disability. The trial court dismissed the action based on the law’s language (which has since been removed as part of the amendment) that nothing in the act “shall be construed to require an employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any workplace.”)