New York's Compassionate Care Act legalized the use of medical marijuana. (For some reason, New York uses the old spelling “marihuana” in the statute). If you are a “certified patient”, the law includes an anti-discrimination provision. Specifically, certified patients are considered to have a disability within the meaning of the New York State Human Rights Law. Under the NYHRL, individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination (in hiring, continued employment and in the terms and conditions of their employment) and are entitled to reasonable accommodations.
This protection has some caveats and “shall not bar the enforcement of a policy prohibiting an employee from performing his or her employment duties while impaired by a controlled substance. This subdivision shall not require any person or entity to do any act that would put the person or entity in violation of federal law or cause it to lose a federal contract or funding.”
The fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, including for medicinal purposes, has resulted in case law that such use would not be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Cases periodically come up attempting to challenge this conclusion, so we have probably not seen the last word on this.
If you feel you have been discriminated against for legal medical marijuana use, contact us. We are happy to see if we can help.