Firefighter Fired For Medical Marijuana Use Rehired After Settlement With City Of Buffalo

James Eaton

A Buffalo, New York firefighter returned to the position this 7 days immediately after achieving a legal settlement in a situation tough his dismissal for using health care marijuana. Scott Martin was fired by the metropolis last year, top to a lawsuit filed by the firefighter towards the Metropolis of Buffalo and the Buffalo Fire Department for wrongful termination mainly because of his lawful use of health care marijuana.

This week, Martin declared that he had settled his lawsuit against the town and would be returning to function as a city firefighter. David C. Holland, an legal professional representing Martin, claims that the legal motion was filed to maintain Martin’s rights as a accredited and registered medical cannabis affected person underneath New York’s Compassionate Care Act (CCA), human legal rights law, and civil legal rights law.

“Scott Martin’s circumstance is substantial as it seems to be the first of its variety in the state pitting the rights of a professional medical cannabis patient, who challenged the adverse employment steps taken from him right after publishing a positive drug check, towards legal rights of the City of Buffalo and the Union to deal away statutorily guarded well being rights in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA),” Holland writes in an email.

Firefighter Served In Iraq And Afghanistan

Martin, an Air Power veteran who served excursions of obligation in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, worked as an Crisis Clinical Technician (EMT) professional with the Buffalo Hearth Section for virtually 12 a long time. But on December 22, 2020, he was suspended below the conditions of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) after screening beneficial for marijuana metabolites. Martin mentioned that he utilized healthcare cannabis to take care of PTSD, sleeplessness and back suffering, according to a report from neighborhood media, expressing that he most popular cannabis more than the opioids recommended for him. But he preserved that he only applied cannabis prior to bedtime and that he had not employed hashish at the firehouse or immediately ahead of reporting for responsibility.

The termination arrived in spite of Martin getting correctly certified and registered as a health-related cannabis affected person beneath New York’s professional medical cannabis regulation. Two months following his suspension, Martin was terminated for his continued use of his professional medical hashish. Below New York General public Wellness Law 3369, a clinical marijuana affected person cannot be discriminated from or disciplined for the lawful use of cannabis.

Martin filed a lawsuit in May 2021, retaining that the firing violated his legal rights as a health care marijuana patient. The Metropolis of Buffalo and the Buffalo Fireplace Division argued that Martin’s use of hashish, even professional medical cannabis, was prohibited under the drug tests protocols of a 2011 CBA, which were established 3 yrs in advance of the CCA was handed. The New York Supreme Court in Erie County rejected the argument and denied the city and fire department’s ask for for summary judgment in their favor.

As a final result of the settlement, Martin will be reinstated to the Buffalo Fireplace Section this 7 days, retaining the identical rank, seniority, wage and rewards that he held straight away just before he was suspended. He will also get $242,000 in back fork out, and the town and fireplace department will figure out Martin’s status and rights as a registered clinical marijuana affected individual under New York’s health care cannabis legislation.

“I am glad that I can ultimately go back again to the operate I appreciate – shielding the protection of the citizens of the Metropolis of Buffalo,” Martin claimed just after reaching the settlement in the case.

Health care Cannabis In The Place of work

“The rights of professional medical cannabis people in the office is a slicing-edge legal problem. This was a scenario of first perception. It associated the suitable balancing of the legal rights of the parties to a collective bargaining agreement (companies, staff, and unions) when it arrives to medically approved marijuana,” Holland mentioned in a general public assertion. “The parties’ arrangement to Martin’s reinstatement and the recognition of his rights less than the Compassionate Care Act is a realistic resolution to this dispute. At the countrywide degree, I assume to see get-togethers to collective bargaining agreements appear to identical lodging and resolutions.”

While the settlement only applies to Martin, Holland, who serves as the govt and authorized director of Empire Point out NORML, the New York Condition affiliate of the National Business for the Reform of Cannabis Laws (NORML), believes the arrangement could provide as a model for other metropolitan areas and cities in New York and around the nation.

“While the functions have settled and settled their differences, the authorized query still stays pertaining to the superiority of rights in the battle in between municipalities and unions and the limitations, if any, on their power to collectively cut price versus those created by statute for medical hashish clients whom the legislature exclusively shielded in opposition to adverse work motion owing to the mere stigma of their position as a affected person beneath the Compassionate Care Act,” Holland writes. “I believe that Scott Martin’s willingness to stand up for his legal rights and body the dilemma of which social gathering has outstanding rights under the legislation will be a issue visited by municipalities, unions, and workforce across the nation, as some 41 states have now legalized cannabis in some type as a reputable sort of drugs towards which draconian disciplinary motion really should not be allowed just mainly because of earlier propaganda and stigma.”

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