OGDEN — A firefighter has sued Ogden Town, contending he was unlawfully suspended from obligation for refusing to surrender his healthcare cannabis card.
Levi Coleman’s go well with, filed in 2nd District Court on Nov. 17 in opposition to the town and the Ogden Hearth Division, accuses the defendants of discriminating in opposition to a federal government staff in violation of the Utah Health-related Cannabis Act.
Coleman, a firefighter and EMT with Ogden because 2011, explained he suffers from serious back soreness but it did not interfere with the efficiency of his obligations. He got a professional medical cannabis prescription and a point out healthcare hashish card in June this yr.
The go well with said the fireplace section adopted a policy in August that needs staff members to report if they are getting prescriptions or about-the-counter medicines whose labels alert of probable impairment. It also necessitates reporting if any medicine could “interfere with the functionality of essential career responsibilities.”
Coleman claimed he knew of other firefighters with health care cannabis playing cards who notified the department of the cards. They were place on go away and instructed to give up the playing cards if they wished to return to function. He claimed that they chose to surrender the cards so they could go back to get the job done.
The match claimed other firefighters have controlled substance prescriptions other than for healthcare hashish and have been authorized to keep functioning.
Ogden Deputy Hearth Main Mike Slater, head of the department’s health care operations, declined Friday to remark on the match, referring thoughts to the city legal professional.
The city’s main administrative officer, Mark Johnson, also selected not to remark on the match, saying it was staying assessed by the metropolis attorney’s workplace, but he briefly resolved the challenge in standard.
“We have some wonderful considerations plan-wise with public protection people using any type of controlled substances,” Johnson claimed. “So I believe it is a good deal muddier than it is currently being made out to be.”
The accommodate mentioned Coleman realized he in all probability would be place on depart, but he made a decision to keep his card and problem the plan.
Coleman reported the division informed him to undertake a “fit for duty” analysis by a healthcare contractor. Coleman alleged the physician did not carry out a drug exam or run him by a actual physical physical fitness exam.
Soon after talking to the firefighter and confirming he experienced a professional medical cannabis card, the doctor submitted a report saying Coleman had a “medical ailment which would endanger applicant or public.” The report claimed Coleman’s ailment would “interfere with performance” for the reason that of “potential impairment” from professional medical hashish.
The department then suspended Coleman without fork out and said he could resume do the job only if he surrendered the card, in accordance to the suit. The match alleges the suspension quantities to a firing.
The accommodate reported Coleman “has neither failed a drug take a look at nor been impaired at operate and there is no proof that his use of professional medical cannabis adversely impacted his job functionality.”
The suit calls for the hearth office coverage be rewritten and that Coleman be reinstated and reimbursed for vacation and ill depart he has been compelled to use. He also alleges his suspension is a violation of the Utah Whistleblower Act, which guards staff members who, in excellent religion, refuse to go against an improper directive.
Johnson reported his knowledge is that “the science is not seriously perfected” pertaining to how health-related cannabis impacts men and women. He mentioned the metropolis is justifiably worried about any probable impairment of an worker “who could be driving a hearth truck, a paramedic working with some existence saving scenario or a law enforcement officer possessing to use his weapon.”
Endeavours to call Coleman’s legal professional, Erik Strindberg, were not promptly effective.