Vanden-Eykel quoted in Lawyers Weekly article on bias case testing scope of employment rights under RI medical marijuana law

PROVIDENCE (Feb. 17, 2015) – Greg Vanden-Eykel was quoted in the Feb. 16 issue of Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly concerning the scope of employment discrimination rights under Rhode Island’s medical marijuana law.

A woman claims in a case filed in Rhode Island Superior Court that a Westerly, R.I., textile company violated the Hawkins/Slater Medical Marijuana Act by denying her summer employment because she uses medically prescribed marijuana to manage migraine headaches.

The case provides the first opportunity for a Rhode Island court to interpret the Hawkins/Slater Act’s anti-discrimination provision in the employment context, according to Lawyers Weekly.

“From an outsider’s perspective, the beauty of this case is that it is going to answer a lot of questions, depending on how far it progresses,” Vanden-Eykel said in the article.

He also indicated that the law is unclear on whether it provides a private cause of action.

Vanden-Eykel, a civil litigation attorney with a focus on employment law, added that the law is “employer-friendly in the sense that there’s legitimate science out there that, while marijuana could have some beneficial health effects, there could be adverse workplace impacts from marijuana uses. Employers can use that language as a defense in these cases.”

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Barton Gilman is one of New England’s leading civil litigation law firms with offices in Boston and Providence. Its experienced trial attorneys appear regularly in the federal and state courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Providence Business News has named the firm as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work in 2014.