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The Case at Hand
Plaintiff Erick Zanetich applied for a job at one of Defendant Walmart’s New Jersey locations. After interviewing for the position, Zanetich received a conditional job offer with a start date, subject to passing a drug test. After testing positive for cannabis, Walmart withdrew Zanetich’s conditional job offer. Subsequently, Zanetich filed suit in federal court asserting violations of CREAMMA.
On April 25, 2023, in Henson v. Daimler Truck North America LLC, Civil Case No. 22-cv-6479 (RBK/MJS), United States District Judge Robert B. Kugler ruled that the wrongful termination suit filed by an employee who was fired after testing positive for cannabis may proceed. Judge Kugler, however, determined that the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) whistleblower claim should be dismissed due to the lack of a causal nexus between the employee’s communications regarding New Jersey drug testing law and his firing.
“It’s very hazy, it’s very ambiguous,” says employment attorney Marissa Mastroianni. “I think a lot of employers are deciding to take a hands-off approach until more specific guidance/regulations come out from the state. And the employers who do decide to take action now really need to be buttoned up with their procedure.”