Monday, July 25, 2011

Hiring Ban After Failed Drug Test and the ADA

Workforce Management
A rule that bars hiring or rehiring employees who have tested positive for drugs, even if it affects an employee who may otherwise be protected under the ADA or similar state statutes, does not violate those acts.
By James E. Hall, Mark T. Kobata and Marty Denis

Santiago Lopez’s job application as a longshore worker in California with the Pacific Maritime Association was rejected in 1997 when he tested positive for marijuana during a pre-employment drug screen.

Lopez claims to have been addicted to alcohol and drugs at the time, but that the defendant was unaware of his addiction. Lopez underwent rehabilitation in 2002 and has been sober since, according to court records. Lopez reapplied for a longshore position in 2004, but, under the association’s “one-strike rule,” was denied employment because of his previous positive test result. Lopez sued in federal court, claiming that the association violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act by discriminating against him based on his protected status as a rehabilitated drug addict.

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