TRENTON – Walmart faces a potential class-action lawsuit in New Jersey after a Gloucester County resident says he lost a job offer after testing positive for marijuana, which is now legal for recreational use by adults.

The lawsuit was filed in June in state Superior Court but served in August against Walmart and Sam’s Club, its warehouse club division.

Walmart successfully got the case moved to federal court earlier this month, both because the company is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Arkansas and that the damages sought – back pay, front pay and punitive – could exceed $75,000.

NJ resident loses job over Walmart drug testing

Erick Zanetich, 31, of Monroeville, was offered a job as an asset protection association at the Sam’s Club eCommerce Fulfillment Center in Swedesboro in January, with a start date of Feb. 7.

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The job was subject to passing a drug test. He tested positive for marijuana, and the job offer was rescinded as a result.

NJ law on marijuana in workplace

Zanetich’s lawsuit seeks to be a class action covering everyone denied a job at Walmart for testing positive for marijuana in the pre-employment drug screening since Feb. 22, 2021, when the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act took effect.

The state law, as well as guidance issued earlier this month by the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission, says employers can’t refuse to hire someone or take disciplinary action against them due solely to the presence of cannabinoid metabolites, unless they are visibly impaired.

The lawsuit seeks to overturn Walmart’s drug testing policy, provide back pay and restore the employment of Zanetich and anyone else similarly affected.

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