A New Jersey man is suing his former employers after he was fired over his legal use of medical marijuana. In the suit, Joseph Cobb III claims that Ardagh Glass violated state discrimination laws for firing him for using medical marijuana despite his “stellar work performance.” Cobb also claims that the company discriminated against him by failing “to reasonably accommodate a disability.”
Cobb began working at Ardagh Glass in 2012, and claimed that he received promotions and raises for his work performance, while being “groomed for greater responsibilities.” In 2013, Cobb was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue. Doctors gave Cobb prescriptions for Percoset and oxycodone, two highly addictive opioids. In the suit, Cobb claims that he “excelled in his position for the years he worked while managing his pain with such medicine."
Earlier this year, Cobb's doctor prescribed him medical marijuana for his chronic pain, which allowed him to reduce his use of the opioid medications. On March 12th, Cobb fractured his hand in a workplace accident, and was required by company policy to undergo immediate drug and alcohol screening. The next day, when the test results came back positive for cannabis, Cobb's superiors told him he would be fired unless he entered a rehabilitation program for his “drug problem.”
Cobb explained that he was using medical marijuana to treat his existing medical condition, in full accordance with state laws. Regardless, the company fired him on March 13th, which Cobb claims was "solely because of his disability and its treatment course." The lawsuit claims that Cobb suffered economic loss, harm to his business reputation, disruption to his family life, and other harms. In recompense, he is seeking to recover compensatory and punitive damages, front pay, back pay, attorney's fees and emotional distress damages and reinstatement.