Buffalo firefighter fired for medical marijuana returns to work after settlement

James Eaton

Buffalo firefighter Scott Martin returns to do the job this week just after the city settled his wrongful termination lawsuit and agreed to accept his legal rights as a registered clinical cannabis person.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Buffalo firefighter returns to function this week after he settled his wrongful termination lawsuit with the Town of Buffalo and the fire division, which terminated him in 2021 for testing beneficial for hashish in spite of currently being a registered health care affected person.

Scott Martin, an Air Drive veteran who served two tours in the Center East, was a Buffalo EMT and firefighter for in excess of a 10 years, when he received suspended in December 2020 for screening good for hashish on a random workplace examination.

The collective bargaining arrangement between the town and the fireplace division establishes the protocol for place of work drug screening, but it does not address registered professional medical users like Martin.

Martin was deemed a accredited health care affected individual in 2018 to help ease continual back suffering, sleepless evenings and publish-traumatic tension ailment.

Martin instructed News 4 Investigates last year that he educated the individual who gave him the drug examination that he was a accredited health-related client, but “they didn’t know what to do.”

Two months after Martin bought suspended, the hearth office and city terminated his work.

Martin filed a union grievance and a wrongful termination lawsuit in state supreme courtroom to force the town to admit his legal rights as a medical hashish client and return him to do the job.

Between the authorized arguments in Martin’s lawsuit was that point out legislation prohibits entities from discriminating against health care cannabis people.

The town, on the other hand, argued that the collective bargaining settlement prohibits use of medicine and that allowing lively customers to use health care hashish could jeopardize the city’s capacity to secure funding from the federal federal government, which continue to outlaws hashish use and calls for drug-absolutely free workplaces.

In court filings final year, the metropolis also argued that it would be faced with too considerably liability if it ended up to allow for firefighters and other public safety staff to use cannabis, even if it is legitimately prescribed.

Martin explained he under no circumstances employed when at function and that the beneficial take a look at only indicated that he had cannabis metabolites in his program, not when he previous made use of. He explained to Information 4 that he made use of the clinical cannabis soon after perform shifts and would under no circumstances use the medicine when on the work.

At the conclude of September, Supreme Courtroom Justice Catherine N. Panepinto turned down the city’s arguments by ruling towards its request for a summary judgement that sought to dismiss Martin’s circumstance.

David Holland, Martin’s attorney, confirmed that the settlement calls for Martin to be reinstated to his very same rank, seniority and income he experienced prior to his termination. In addition, the city agreed to admit Martin’s legal rights as a medical cannabis person.

The city also agreed to give Martin with $242,000 in back again pay out.

Holland mentioned the scenario was the first in the point out in which a authorities staff challenged his termination as a secured clinical hashish person underneath the state’s Compassionate Treatment Act.

“The parties’ agreement to Martin’s reinstatement and the recognition of his legal rights beneath the Compassionate Care Act is a reasonable resolution to this dispute,” Holland reported. “At the national stage, I expect to see functions to collective bargaining agreements arrive to very similar accommodations and resolutions.” 

The city’s company counsel business did not straight away reply to a ask for for comment.

Dan Telvock is an award-profitable investigative producer and reporter who has been part of the Information 4 staff since 2018. See extra of his work below and adhere to him on Twitter.

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