New York City Amazon Employees: Illegally Testing for Marijuana Use

medical personnel holding drug testing container

A former Amazon employee with a medical marijuana card had a doctor’s prescription for marijuana to treat an anxiety disorder. When marijuana use showed up in his drug test, Amazon terminated his employment. The New York City employment lawyers at Lipsky Lowe LLP filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Amazon on his behalf. The plaintiffs are requesting reinstatement to his position, back pay, and punitive damages. 

Fired from Amazon After Legally Using Marijuana? Lipsky Lowe LLP Can Help 

Have you been denied an employment opportunity or fired because of marijuana use despite having a valid medical marijuana card? If so, you may be entitled to damages through an employment lawsuit. We have a proven reputation for winning employment lawsuits in New York and will provide you with excellent representation. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation. 

Amazon Cannot Require Marijuana Testing for NYC Employees 

Our client applied for a job with a Staten Island Amazon fulfillment center on November 10th. The position involves sorting Amazon products to be shipped. The hiring manager offered him a job after his interview contingent on him passing a pre-employment drug screening. On December 27th, Amazon told him he wouldn’t be hired because he had tested positive for marijuana.

New York City officials added a new amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law in May. This law prohibits employers from requiring their job applicants to undergo drug testing for marijuana use. Amazon’s corporate headquarters are located in Seattle, but they have multiple distribution centers in New York, including a warehouse in Staten Island.

The new human rights law amendment does include an exception for some jobs, including operating heavy equipment and machinery. Additionally, positions involving working near gas lines, heavy machinery, active construction, or involving caring for children or patients are exempted.

A sorting job at a warehouse does not fit into any of the exempted categories of jobs. Drug impairment would not pose an immediate risk of serious injury, death, or serious physical harm to the employee or other co-workers. The plaintiff wasn’t denied one of these types of positions. Instead, he was denied a job as a sorter of Amazon products that were being prepared to ship out. The job to which he applied involves sorting, packing, and scanning packages, not handling any dangerous machinery.

Employers Can Still Test Current Employees for Marijuana Use

New York’s new law prohibits testing job applicants for marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a condition of their employment. However, there are several exceptions to this law. For example, Amazon still has the right to test its current employees for THC and marijuana use. Additionally, Amazon can continue to discipline employees for bringing drugs to work or coming to work while under the influence of THC or marijuana. 

Lipsky Lowe LLP Has Filed Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon 

We filed our complaint in a Brooklyn federal court on behalf of our clients. So far, we know of over 100 other Amazon applicants who were denied a position based on failing a drug test for marijuana use. Our client was denied a job in December of 2020, after the prohibition on testing employees for marijuana use went into effect on May 10, 2020. Our client is seeking damages and an injunction against Amazon that will prohibit the corporation from testing future job applicants in similar positions for marijuana use.

Seeking Compensation After Being Denied a Job For Marijuana Use

The New York City Human Rights Law provides several different types of remedies for employees. Successful claimants can recover back pay and reinstatement to their position. In other words, plaintiffs can recover the amount of payment they would have earned had Amazon hired them. The Human Rights Commission has the legal authority to require Amazon to hire or reinstate the claimant. In other words, if you win your claim, Amazon must hire you and pay you the wages you would have learned if they’d hired you when you initially applied.

Our client is also seeking punitive damages from Amazon. Under the New York Human Rights Law, employees can recover additional punitive damages when the defendant’s actions are willfully negligent or reckless. Our complaint contends that Amazon’s actions were reckless and willfully negligent because they should have known that New York City recently passed a law prohibiting employers from testing employees for marijuana.

Are You Eligible to Join Our Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon?

At Lipsky Lowe LLP, our employment lawyers have been protecting New York city employees for decades. When large corporations like Amazon fail to follow New York law, we will hold them accountable. We have petitioned the court to certify a class of individuals to file a class action against Amazon. Our law firm would like to add more plaintiffs to our class-action lawsuit against Amazon. If you meet the following conditions, please contact us to discuss joining the lawsuit:

  • You applied for a job with Amazon in New York City
  • You were required to submit to pre-employment marijuana testing
  • You were denied the position

Contact a New York City Employment Lawyer

In this challenging economy, finding a job is challenging enough. When companies ignore New York City’s guidelines, they make it even more difficult for New York City residents to find employment. If you’ve been denied a job at a New York City company because of a drug test for marijuana or THC, we recommend consulting with one of our skilled employment lawyers. 

We know how to navigate the process of suing companies that violate New York’s human rights laws. You may be able to join our class-action lawsuit against Amazon. The sooner you talk to an experienced lawyer, the better. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP today to schedule your initial consultation.