Recently, when dismissing a former employee’s claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the District of Connecticut issued two welcome reminders to employers. First, to set out an ADA disability discrimination claim, a plaintiff must allege that the employer was aware of the plaintiff’s disability. Second, and just as important, the ADA does not provide protection against discrimination based solely on medical marijuana use or require accommodation of medical marijuana use (although state laws may provide some protections).
In Eccleston v. City of Waterbury, Case 19-cv-1614 (D. Conn. Mar. 22, 2021), Plaintiff was a firefighter for the City of Waterbury. According to the Complaint, in 2017, Plaintiff was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sometime thereafter, Plaintiff informed his battalion chief that he was thinking of applying for a medical marijuana card. Plaintiff was told that doing so “would not be a good idea.” Even so, Plaintiff obtained a marijuana card in January 2018. Critically, when talking to his battalion chief, Plaintiff did not mention his PTSD diagnosis, or that he sought a medical marijuana card for the purpose of treating a purported disabling condition.