Fired worker argues marijuana use didn’t violate company policy

Bernadette Coughlin, 55, of Methuen, was fired last month.

METHUEN, MA - 06/25/2018 Bernadette Coughlin sits in her living for a portrait nearly one month after she fell and broke her wrist while at work. After the fall, Bernadette was required to take a drug test and her occasional recreational marijuana use led to a positive result. She then lost her job. Erin Clark for the Boston Globe
Bernadette Coughlin. –Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

METHUEN, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts woman who was fired by a food services company for her recreational marijuana use says she was wrongfully terminated.

The Eagle-Tribune reports that 55-year-old Bernadette Coughlin was fired last month from her job as a supervisor with Sodexo at Holy Family Hospital after she was drug tested following a fall at work. The Methuen woman says she had used pot after work a few days before the incident.

Recreational marijuana is legal in Massachusetts. However, Sodexo operates under federal jurisdiction.

Coughlin has requested arbitration with Sodexo.

Her attorney says Coughlin’s off-duty pot use didn’t violate company policy because it didn’t affect her performance or safety. The attorney says there were discrepancies with the test’s handling.


A Sodexo spokesman said the company is evaluating its policies around marijuana.


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