An MTA worker claims he’s been demoted, subjected to random drug testing and forced to attend drug counseling four times a week — because he legally uses medicinal marijuana.
Myles Watson, 44, sued for monetary damages in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Friday, claiming he was demoted over his weed habit which “needs to be accommodated related to his disabilities,” the suit said.
Watson “could work any role with his medical marijuana prescription as he would not use his medication while working and there are no lingering effects that would prevent him from performing the essential functions of his employment,” the suit said.
In his suit, Watson said he began using pot after being injured in a 2017 car crash. MTA officials uncovered the weed usage after a March 2019 drug test, suspended him and forced him to go to rehab.
A second crash that December spurred Watson to start using CBD — a chemical found in marijuana that not psychoactive and is legal to sell and use.
Yet Watson was caught by another drug test in October 2020 and suspended again. He then obtained a legal marijuana card to treat newly diagnosed Crohn’s disease. MTA officials denied him an accommodation for the drug and sent him back to rehab and counseling.
According to his suit, Watson, a seven-year MTA veteran who worked as a telephone maintainer and fiber optic technician, lost his car and his daughters’ health insurance and nearly had to give up his house while serving the unpaid suspension.
Transit officials eventually allowed him to return to work — but as a lower paid station cleaner. He is prohibited from using even his prescribed medical marijuana and continues to attend mandatory drug testing three times a week, the suit said.
“Myles Watson has suffered economic damages, pain and suffering and psychological injuries by reason of the discrimination, negligence, recklessness, carelessness and retaliation of NYC and NYCTA,” according to the suit first reported by Brooklyn Paper.
New York legalized recreational marijuana last year.
An MTA spokesman declined to comment on pending litigation.
Additional reporting by Priscilla DeGregory