Walmart is one of the largest employers in the nation, which is why it is no surprise that they are often in the news. The company employs tens of thousands of people in Missouri and across the nation, and it usually does not have a hard time finding applicants, but it certainly does not mean that they can violate employee rights.

Employees are not always aware of what would constitute a violation under the Fair Labor Standards Act, but there are often times when a worker simply feels in their gut that something isn’t right. A Walmart employee recently had one of these feelings when he was fired for using marijuana to treat his inoperable brain tumor, especially when medical marijuana was legal in his state.

The employee worked as an inventory-control manager at one of the company’s locations in Battle Creek, Michigan. The man was diagnosed with cancer and a brain tumor several years ago. He fought the cancer and won, remaining in remission for a few years now, but the brain tumor was inoperable and the cancer had taken its toll. The father of two still suffers the ramifications of the illness. Not only does he have trouble speaking, but he is in constant pain.

To help keep the pain manageable enough to provide for his family, the man’s oncologist prescribed the marijuana in 2008. When he tested positive for the drug in 2009, his employment was immediately terminated. The ACLU has helped the man fight the termination, a representative saying that “no patient should be forced to choose between adequate pain relief and gainful employment.”

In this specific instance, the Michigan appeals court determined that the employer had taken adequate steps to terminate, but that is not always the case.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Joseph Casias, Cancer Patient Fired By Walmart For Medical Marijuana Use, Loses Appeal,” Sept. 20, 2012

If you have that feeling in your gut that you are being treated unfairly at work, our Kansas City firm helps employees in all kinds of employment disputes.