OGDEN — A firefighter has sued Ogden Metropolis, contending he was unlawfully suspended from obligation for refusing to give up his medical hashish card.
Levi Coleman’s swimsuit, filed in 2nd District Courtroom on Nov. 17 towards the town and the Ogden Fireplace Division, accuses the defendants of discriminating towards a authorities worker in violation of the Utah Medical Hashish Act.
Coleman, a firefighter and EMT with Ogden since 2011, stated he suffers from continual again ache but it surely didn’t intervene with the efficiency of his duties. He bought a medical hashish prescription and a state medical hashish card in June this 12 months.
The swimsuit stated the fireplace division adopted a coverage in August that requires staff to report if they’re taking prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs whose labels warn of attainable impairment. It additionally requires reporting if any medicine could “intervene with the efficiency of important job duties.”
Coleman stated he knew of different firefighters with medical hashish playing cards who notified the division of the playing cards. They had been placed on depart and advised to surrender the playing cards in the event that they needed to return to work. He stated that they selected to give up the playing cards so they might return to work.
The swimsuit claimed different firefighters have managed substance prescriptions apart from for medical hashish and have been allowed to maintain working.
Ogden Deputy Fireplace Chief Mike Slater, head of the division’s medical operations, declined Friday to touch upon the swimsuit, referring inquiries to the town lawyer.
Town’s chief administrative officer, Mark Johnson, additionally selected to not touch upon the swimsuit, saying it was being assessed by the town lawyer’s workplace, however he briefly addressed the problem on the whole.
“We have now some nice issues policy-wise with public security people taking any type of managed substances,” Johnson stated. “So I believe it’s so much muddier than it’s being made out to be.”
The swimsuit stated Coleman knew he in all probability could be placed on depart, however he determined to maintain his card and problem the coverage.
Coleman stated the division advised him to bear a “match for obligation” analysis by a medical contractor. Coleman alleged the physician didn’t carry out a drug take a look at or run him by means of a bodily health take a look at.
After speaking to the firefighter and confirming he had a medical hashish card, the physician filed a report saying Coleman had a “medical situation which might endanger applicant or public.” The report stated Coleman’s situation would “intervene with efficiency” due to “potential impairment” from medical hashish.
The division then suspended Coleman with out pay and stated he may resume work provided that he surrendered the cardboard, in line with the swimsuit. The swimsuit alleges the suspension quantities to a firing.
The swimsuit stated Coleman “has neither failed a drug take a look at nor been impaired at work and there’s no proof that his use of medical hashish adversely affected his job efficiency.”
The swimsuit calls for the fireplace division coverage be rewritten and that Coleman be reinstated and reimbursed for trip and sick depart he has been pressured to make use of. He additionally alleges his suspension is a violation of the Utah Whistleblower Act, which protects staff who, in good religion, refuse to go towards an improper directive.
Johnson stated his understanding is that “the science isn’t actually perfected” relating to how medical hashish impacts people. He stated the town is justifiably involved about any potential impairment of an worker “who could also be driving a fireplace truck, a paramedic coping with some life saving state of affairs or a police officer having to make use of his weapon.”
Efforts to contact Coleman’s lawyer, Erik Strindberg, weren’t instantly profitable.