An aggrieved Metropolitan Transportation Authority staff submitted a lawsuit against the company very last week alleging rampant discrimination over his authorized use of healthcare weed to treat myriad wellbeing challenges and boasting he is forced to attend drug counseling four situations weekly, is topic to frequent random drug assessments, and was demoted to a reduce-paying out work soon after testing good on a drug examination.
According to courtroom filings, Myles Watson, 44, presently performs as a station cleaner for the MTA irrespective of remaining a learn-accredited fiber optic technician who formerly labored as a phone maintainer. He claims which is simply because the transit authority clings to out-of-date norms from toking — even with both equally clinical and recreational use now remaining authorized in the Empire State — and has punished him for it inspite of struggling from debilitating health care disorders necessitating its use.
Watson, who submitted suit in Brooklyn Supreme Court docket on Friday, is trying to find monetary damages and an injunction versus the MTA demanding it to comply with the state’s professional medical marijuana regulation.
Watson was hired by the MTA in 2015 as a phone maintainer following attaining a near-ideal rating on his civil service test, he statements, and the next year he was qualified as a grasp fiber optic technician. In 2017 he was wounded in a car or truck crash, suffering two bulging discs and 3 herniated discs in his neck and requiring surgical procedures. Watson commenced working with weed to cope with his ache and tummy problems after remaining unable to choose opioids due to pre-existing situations.
When a random drug test turned up optimistic in March 2019, Watson claims he was suspended from operate and compelled into a drug counseling method, inspite of his bosses being aware of about his damage he completed rehab a thirty day period later and was allowed to return to do the job.
Right after a different motor vehicle crash in December of that yr led to a torn meniscus, Watson commenced employing CBD, which he states considerably assisted him with the extreme pain. But when he failed a 2nd drug test in Oct 2020, the MTA initially tried to fireplace him but was impeded by the collective bargaining settlement signed with Transport Staff Union Neighborhood 100 right after that failed, he was suspended again.
Watson acquired a health care marijuana card the subsequent thirty day period, and was also diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, which will cause inflammation of the digestive tract. But when he introduced his card to the MTA and asked for a fair lodging, but was denied, and adhering to meniscus surgical procedure, he was allegedly forced to show up at rehab and 4-moments-weekly drug counseling sessions.
Though suspended with no shell out to show up at rehab, Watson said he was consistently on phone for random drug tests. In the course of that time he states his auto was repossessed, his daughters lost their health coverage, and his residence was nearly foreclosed upon, but was saved due to COVID protections in area at the time.
Following ending rehab, Watson claims he was demoted to station cleaner, and was docked $9-for each-hour in wages. He is forbidden from employing his prescription professional medical marijuana and is however compelled to go to drug counseling thrice weekly.
“Basically, the argument is, that he could not complete the security placement due to the fact he would smoke marijuana at evening,” mentioned Watson’s law firm, John Scola, by cell phone. “But which is just not how cannabis will work.”
Watson says that the MTA is in violation of the state’s clinical cannabis legislation and anti-incapacity discrimination statutes by failing to give him with affordable lodging.
“The Defendants know or ought to know that Plaintiff could do the job any role with his health-related cannabis prescription as he would not use his medicine though doing the job,” the June 3 court filing reads. “There are no lingering consequences that would avert him from accomplishing the important functions of his employment.”
Recreational marijuana was legalized for older people in New York Condition in 2021, but transit staff are however forbidden from using the sticky icky, are nevertheless subject to drug testing, and can even even now reduce their positions for making use of it because of to federal rules prohibiting drug use by community transit employees. NYPD and FDNY workers are beneath equivalent constraints.
An MTA spokesperson stated the company does not remark on pending litigation.