WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A woman has filed a lawsuit after she says she was denied employment, for using medical marijuana.
She has epilepsy and chronic pain, and uses infused oil three times a week, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Thursday.
Felita Dobbins of Nassau County told CBS2 she was on the brink of being hired by Home Depot until she disclosed her medical marijuana registry identification card issued by the state Department of Health.
“I want the job, still. I still want to work. If Home Depot asks me right now to work for them, I will work for them,” Felita Dobbins said.
Dobbins, a mother of five, is desperate for a job, but now she’s suing Home Depot for denying her that chance. She claims two weeks ago she was with a supervisor at the store in Westbury filling out final paperwork to begin as a sales associate.
“I said, ‘I got that energy, that spunk, so I’m ready to work,’ and she said, ‘OK, I need to let you know we take a drug test,'” Dobbins said.
Dobbins said, full disclosure, “I just passed her my medical marijuana ID. When she took it she said, ‘Oh,’ and she said, ‘Hold on for a second,’ like she made the biggest mistake in her life when I signed those papers.”
She said the supervisor took the marijuana card and left to check with a manager. Dobbins claims she got worried and turned on her cellphone when the supervisor returned.
McLogan looked at and listened to the recording.
“We are not able to hire you,” the supervisor says.
“With the medical marijuana?” Dobbins responds.
“Right, we do drug testing,” the supervisor says.
“But you do know this is medicine,” Dobbins says.
“I wanted to make sure we didn’t change our policy. Sorry, through company practices, our store co-manager says it’s unacceptable,” the supervisor says.
“It’s slam dunk improper under the Compassionate Cares Act. It’s absolutely wrong, it’s absolutely discrimination and a national company like Home Depot should not discriminate based on medical usage,” attorney Kenneth Mollins said.
Mollins said under New York human rights law, one cannot be denied a job or fired based on medical marijuana usage unless one is high on the job and not functioning, or there are fewer than four employees in the company.
Dobbins was prescribed marijuana oil four years ago and uses it several times a week for disabilities — -epilepsy and chronic pain — instead of opioids.
“Opioids is given by a doctor. My medical marijuana, oil, was given by a doctor, a script,” Dobbins said.
The lawsuit could run well over $1 million for lost wages and punitive damages. Home Depot said it will comment once it receives and reviews the claim.