A search unit officer at a regional airport was sacked for being a strong advocate of the use of medical cannabis. Disgracefully, the Labour Court, which heard his case, did not order his re-in statement but awarded him €9,000 instead.
The worker’s performance at work was above average and he never had any disciplinary problems.
But the company said that one of the reasons for sacking him was ‘his passionate advocacy of an illegal drug and his declared position as a cannabis activist’.
At a meeting with his employers, the worker had acknowledged that he had suffered from a lower back pain. The company immediately ordered a drug test on him and traces of cannabis were found in his blood stream.
The worker stated that he was using cannabis to reduce chronic pain but the company pointed to his ‘passionate advocacy’ of legalising medical cannabis to sack him. They did not refer him to their chief medical officer.
The Labour Court acknowledged that the worker has made a strong case for showing he was sacked for his political beliefs. But it still claimed there was a breach of trust with his employers because of the worker’s ‘steadfast commitment to the continued use of an illegal drug’
In other words, even though the worker was using medical cannabis to relieve pain, the Labour Court refused to call for his re-instatement.
The case illustrates the pro-employer bias of the Labour Court as it rarely calls for a worker’s re-instatement, even when they prove their case.
But it also shows what happens when Fine Gael stands over a barbaric law that make the use of medical cannabis illegal.
All the more reason why the delay in allowing Gino Kenny’s bill go through the final stages of Dail approval is even more outrageous.