NJ: Funeral Home Director Claims He Was Fired For Using Medical Marijuana

Katelyn Baker

Well-Known Member
Ridgewood - A licensed funeral director has filed a lawsuit against his former employers, alleging they fired him after learning he used medical marijuana to treat cancer symptoms.

Justin Wild, 39, of Saddle River claims in court papers he was prescribed and used medicinal marijuana after he was diagnosed with the disease about two years ago, according to a lawsuit filed Jan. 30 in Bergen County Superior Court.

Wild claims he was hired in 2013 to work 28 to 30 hours per week as a funeral director at the Feeney Funeral Home in Ridgewood. In May 2015, doctors discovered and removed a tumor before finding another mass on his spine, which was not removed, according to court papers.

"As part of Mr. Wild's medical treatment, he was prescribed medicinal marijuana pursuant to the New Jersey Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act," the suit states. Under the act, the state allows New Jersey residents to receive marijuana with the approval of a doctor to treat certain medical conditions, including terminal cancer.

The lawsuit states Wild used the prescribed marijuana at night after work and never during work hours.

"Mr. Wild was never under the influence of marijuana while at work," the suit states.

On May 23, 2016, Wild was involved in a car accident during work hours. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he disclosed to emergency room staff that he had a prescription for medical marijuana, according to the suit.

"Mr. Wild advised that he was not under the influence of medicinal marijuana at the time of the accident," the suit states.

But because the accident occurred while Wild was working, his medical marijuana prescription was disclosed to his employers, the suit states.

Wild then provided proof of his prescription to his employers, according to the suit.

"Still, Mr. Wild was forced to undergo a drug test and was subsequently terminated for violating (the funeral home's) drug and alcohol policy," the suit states.

The policy mandates that employees advise their immediate supervisor if they are taking medication that may adversely affect their ability to perform duties safely, according to the lawsuit.

Wild claims his medical marijuana use did not affect his job performance and that his employers never had a problem with his work.

After the accident, Wild claims employees and agents of the business damaged his reputation by disclosing to members of the Bergen County Funeral Directors' Association that Wild had been fired for being a "drug addict" who was "under the influence of drugs" when the accident occurred.

"These statements are patently false, have harmed Mr. Wild's reputation and have interfered with Mr. Wild's efforts to obtain post-termination employment," the suit states.

Wild claims his employers violated New Jersey's Law Against Disability Discrimination, and that employees acted with management in a concerted effort to terminate him and harm his reputation.

Wild is seeking monetary damages for wages, loss of pension, health insurance and other benefits, along with emotional distress, pain and suffering.

A call to the Feeney Funeral Home seeking comment was not immediately returned on Friday.


News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Funeral Home Director Claims He Was Fired For Using Medical Marijuana
Author: Anthony G. Attrino
Contact: 732.902.4300
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Website: nj.com
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