Many companies conduct drug screenings on prospective employees before hiring them, and typically, refusing to hire them for a positive test result is allowed.
However, in a recent lawsuit filed by the EEOC, a company is in legal hot water after doing just that.
Here’s a breakdown of the case and why the EEOC is claiming this company’s refusal to hire is disability discrimination.
Revoked job offer
An employee applied for a job at International Paper Co. in Grand Prairie, TX, and received an offer conditional on a medical exam and passing a drug screening. During his medical exam, the candidate disclosed that he had ADHD and took Adderall to manage it. But when the candidate’s drug test came back positive for amphetamines, his job offer was revoked.
The candidate tried to challenge the drug test, explaining again about his ADHD and offering to put the company in contact with his doctor. However, International Paper Co. refused to change its decision.
This violates the ADA, which protects employees and candidates from discrimination based on their disabilities and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations, the EEOC said.
“Discriminatory drug screen policies like the one in this case stigmatize mental health,” said Brook Lopez, trial attorney for the EEOC.
This case is likely to concern many employers. Do you have to hire someone whose drug screen comes back positive if they have a disability? It depends.
HR expert and author of Evil HR Lady blog Suzanne Lucas shared her expertise on the matter.
If there are safety concerns about a person taking a certain drug and their job duties, you aren’t obligated to hire them. For example, if a person is on a medication that makes them sleepy, and the job would require them to operate dangerous machinery, this is a safety hazard. You can revoke a job offer without worrying about legal repercussions.
In this case, though, the job was entry-level and not dangerous. The company had no reason to have safety concerns over the applicant’s use of Adderall to treat his ADHD.