A nurse at the Cass County Jail who was recently fired for failing a drug test alleges the firing was unjust, citing her possession of a medical marijuana card and that she never brought the controlled substance onto jail property.
Katie Rodacker-Bartch appealed the firing to the city after she was terminated on March 28 for failing a drug test conducted after coworkers complained about the strong odor of marijuana. The former jail employee claims she was discriminated against for her disability and that her private medical records had been shared, something she describes as “mortifying.”
Rodacker-Bartch has a medical marijuana card through the state of Minnesota and is prescribed cannabis and adderall to manage mental health conditions , she said.
Members of the Fargo Civil Service Commission voted 3-1 on Monday, April 3, to uphold the termination. The commission’s role in these situations is to ensure that disciplinary actions are not motivated by political or otherwise “improper” considerations, according to Commissioner Kurt Losee.
Fargo City Attorney Nancy Morris said Rodacker-Bartch was fired because a positive test for cannabis is a policy violation for both the city of Fargo and Cass County Jail.
“She was tested for the use of a controlled substance due to reasonable suspicion and that test was positive,” Morris said. “In other words, she was under the influence of a controlled substance while at work. Whether or not she was impaired is irrelevant under the circumstances.”
Morris added that measures for testing for cannabis impairment are imperfect.