Article by Harrison Jordan, Lift News
An employee of Nova Scotia’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal says she has filed a claim with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Tribunal claiming that she has been discriminated against because of the medical cannabis she uses for a hereditary connective tissue disorder.
Sarah Benoit, who has worked at the Department of Transportation for almost four years, claims that after being laid off earlier in 2017, she was not hired back because of her use of cannabis to treat Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which causes weak ligaments, instability and dislocation of her joints, and chronic pain.
Benoit says that, for months, those who she worked with knew about her use of cannabis and did not believe she was impaired or that it otherwise impacted her job. It was only after another employee reported on her cannabis use to superiors that her employer decided to take action.
“It hadn’t been a problem,” Benoit told Lift News, “until last fall when a fellow employee brought it to my boss’s attention that I was using marijuana at work.”
Benoit conceded she knows she “shouldn’t have” used medical cannabis at the time as she didn’t have a prescription, but she has since obtained authorization under the ACMPR and provided it to her employer.
To hear it from Ms. Benoit, she was a model employee who was more than capable of both her tasks and filling in for the tasks of others on the job, such as dispatching.
She says she was willing to adhere to a CBD-only regimen on workdays, “so they didn’t have to worry about it.” She also had a letter from her treating physician explaining the condition and offering a rationale for Ms. Benoit’s use of non-psychoactive CBD oil.
Still, when it came to hiring back past employees who had been laid off, Benoit was told by her employer that “until this situation was resolved, I wouldn’t be able to work.”
It appeared that the Department of Transportation initiated an employee assistance program through HR firm Morneau Shepell, which in turn requested extensive documentation from Ms. Benoit and sought an independent medical assessment.