Chamberlains Law Firm is acting for Mitchell Rice in the alleged termination and discrimination proceedings in contraventions of general protections laws by his employer, Queensland Rail.
Mitchell Rice was dismissed by his employer on the basis of having used a legally prescribed cannabis product to treat his medical conditions of anxiety and insomnia. Conditions which arose from a combination of extensive shift work for Queensland Rail, as well as caring for his terminally ill mother.
Despite evidence from Rice’s medical practitioner declaring that the medication would not affect his capacity to work safely, as long as the medication was taken more than 8 hours before commencing work, Queensland Rail proceeded to terminate his employment.
Rice is being represented in court by Chamberlains Law Firm in the matter of Rice v Queensland Rail in a General Protections and Discrimination matter under the Fair Work Act before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
Rice’s solicitor, Special Counsel Jeremy Kennedy, comments:
“It is clear that whilst law makers and society generally accept the use of medicinal cannabis to treat chronic pain and other medical conditions, the social stigma surrounding this class of drug and lack of training and understanding in the workplace has detrimental impacts on employees like Mr Rice.
With the use of medical cannabis being legalised in several states and territories in Australia employers need to manage employees prescribed with medicinal cannabis in the same way as other prescribed medication; with a focus on whether the employee’s ability to perform their job safely is impaired, rather than seeking to stamp out the use of the drug all together. Employers need to understand that they should not assume the role of “morality police”.
Rice’s legal fees have been estimated to $100,000 AUD. Fees which Rice has started a GoFundMe page to raise, as he is now unemployed and supports another disabled family member. Rice hopes that by pursuing justice for his dismissal, he can help others in the same situation to start constructive discussions with their employers about medical cannabis and the workplace.
Mitchell Rice’s GoFundMe page:
Donations For the Legal Fees of Mitchell Rice to Assist Users of Prescription Cannabis Against Discrimination in the Workplace: https://www.gofundme.com/f/donations-for-the-legal-fees-of-mitchell-rice