MTA Employee Claims He Was Suspended, Forced Into Rehab For Using Legal Medical Marijuana

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An MTA worker says he was suspended with out pay and labeled an “addict” for utilizing medically prescribed marijuana to deal with a persistent ache situation brought on by on-the-job accident.

Myles Watson, a technician for New York Metropolis Transit, filed a discover of declare for $5 million on Monday, alleging that the MTA’s actions quantity to incapacity discrimination. It is the most recent in a string of ongoing lawsuits accusing native businesses — together with the NYPD and the FDNY — of taking an outdated enforcement strategy to medical marijuana use.

On this case, the 43-year-old Watson stated the MTA suspended him with out pay shortly after his drug take a look at got here again constructive this previous October. To get his job again, he was pressured to enroll in narcotics counseling applications that require 4 periods per week. “Nobody could be cured of habit in lower than 45 days,” one counselor allegedly instructed him.

Watson stated he makes use of hashish — together with the non-psychoactive CBD — to alleviate extreme neck and again ache that he suffered in a 2017 crash at work. He has a medical marijuana prescription, and has by no means used the drug whereas on the job, the submitting states.

“The town and the state are performing prefer it’s 1970,” the lawyer, John Scola, instructed Gothamist. “They’re placing archaic insurance policies forward of the well being of their staff.”

Whereas metropolis legislation bars pre-employment marijuana testing, public businesses that take federal cash are nonetheless required to drug take a look at staff in safety-sensitive jobs, in accordance with the MTA.

However Scola instructed Gothamist the company’s determination to droop Watson was not primarily based in federal security laws. Their refusal to supply his shopper a “affordable lodging” for his incapacity violates town’s Human Rights Regulation, he added.

The suspension left Watson’s daughter with out medical health insurance, and led to his automotive being repossessed, Scola stated.

In response to courtroom papers, Watson stated he was knowledgeable final week that he could be demoted to station cleaner as soon as he finishes his rehab program. Even after he returns, he is anticipated to finish three drug counseling periods per week.

A spokesperson for the MTA stated the company doesn’t touch upon potential or pending litigation.

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