Every cannabis business owner should aim to maintain a safe and discrimination free working environment. Another good business practice is to fire employees for just cause, such as poor performance, an action irreparable to the business, or lack of trust based upon documented evidence. Even with the best policies and intentions in place, a fired employee may not agree with the reason for termination and they may opt to take action. Depending on the situation the employee could sue for wrongful termination based on any number of types of discrimination. In situations like this, marijuana business owners must have cannabis employer’s protection liability insurance.
At any time an employee could file a claim against you for discrimination including age, race, disability, sexual discrimination, wrongful termination, or some other type of discrimination. Traditional businesses and industries have been navigating these issues for as long as they have been in business and the same is true for the marijuana industry. Marijuana related businesses are not immune to charges of discrimination or wrongful termination. Any business that has multiple employees runs the risk of being sued by that employee at some point in time during or after the working relationship.
A cannabis company fired an employee due to her cancer diagnosis, alleges a new lawsuit. Pamela Johnston, formerly senior vice president of strategy and special projects for Electrum Partners, is suing the company and its founder Leslie Bocskor for wrongful termination in a lawsuit filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“Electrum and Mr. Bocskor fired Ms. Johnston because she was suffering from cancer,” reads the complaint. “They also fired Ms. Johnston because she had reported intra-company sexual activity that posed a risk to the company – activity undertaken by Electrum executives that Electrum did not want to address.”
Electrum Partners is a consulting firm that specializes in the cannabis industry. The lawsuit alleges that the company violated New York City Human Rights Law in her termination and is seeking damages from lost wages, back-pay, pain and suffering, and more.
Every employer wants happy employees that can work for them forever as a big happy family, but unfortunately that is not always the case. If there is a bad break up and the employee ends up filing a suit, marijuana business owners can protect their businesses with cannabis employer’s protection liability insurance. A claim for discrimination or wrongful termination could include depositions, file and record requests, court proceedings, damage awards, punitive damages, and legal fees. Even an unsuccessful claim against an employer could be time consuming and costly to defend. Cannabis employer’s protection liability insurance would pay the cost of the entire claim up to the policy limit. While no policy can insure against time lost or other collateral damage caused by a discrimination claim, the right policy can reduce the damage by covering the financial loss if such a claim is filed. A business owner should always work closely with an experienced insurance agent when determining the right risk management strategy for their business.