Employer's drug policy is too broad, federal court rules.Employers who bar workers from using any legal prescription drug prescription drug Prescription medication Pharmacology An FDA-approved drug which must, by federal law or regulation, be dispensed only pursuant to a prescription–eg, finished dose form and active ingredients subject to the provisos of the Federal Food, Drug, without first determining whether the prohibition is job-related violate the Americans with Disabilities Act Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. civil-rights law, enacted 1990, that forbids discrimination of various sorts against persons with physical or mental handicaps. (ADA Ada, city, United States
Ada (ā`ə), city (1990 pop. 15,820), seat of Pontotoc co., S central Okla.; inc. 1904. It is a large cattle market and the center of a rich oil and ranch area. ), a federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled.
Chief U.S. District Judge/Sylvia Rambo found that Automated Production Systems, Inc. (APS) wrongfully discharged a man who took Phenobarbital phenobarbital /phe·no·bar·bi·tal/ (fe?no-bahr´bi-tal) a long-acting barbiturate, used as the base or sodium salt as a sedative, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant.
n. and Dilantin for his epilepsy and refused to submit to a drug test as required under the company's mandatory drug and alcohol testing policy. The policy stated that a positive result was sufficient for discharge. (Rowles v. Automated Production Systems, Inc., No. 1:CV-98-0707 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 26, 1999).)
In arriving at her decision, Rambo first had to determine John Rowles's employee status, because there was a dispute as to whether he had actually started working when he was asked to take the drug test. The ADA treats drug testing differently depending on the stage at which the employer conducts the test.
Rambo found that the testing was to have occurred after the job offer but before Rowles began work since Rowles was given forms that said his employment was conditional on passing the drug test.
Lisa Rau, a Philadelphia attorney who represented Rowles along with Thomas Earle This article is about the American journalist. For the Canadian politician, see Thomas Earle (Canadian politician).
Thomas Earle (April 21 1796 – July 14 1849) was an American journalist, lawyer, and politician. of the Disabilities Law Project in Philadelphia, said the case was one of the first involving drug testing at that stage of the plaintiff's "employment" to come before a federal court.
"The court said that even though this came at the post-offer, pre-employment stage, an employer cannot take any adverse job action unless it can show the drug testing was done as part of a job necessity," Rau said. "The employer really has to meet that requirement. He can't just say this is a free-for-all period between the offer and starting the job."
APS acknowledged that the policy, which it copied from a standard legal document sample, contained language stating that employees would be fired for testing positive for any controlled substance controlled substance n. a drug which has been declared by federal or state law to be illegal for sale or use, but may be dispensed under a physician's prescription. , but it argued it only meant to ferret out illegal drug use. The company said Rowles was fired because he refused to take the test, not for failing to pass.
Rowles countered that he refused to take the test because the policy said he would be fired if he tested positive for any controlled substance, which would include the medication he took for his epilepsy. He said he received no assurances from APS that he would not be fired for taking his prescription medications.
In granting partial summary judgment for Rowles, Rambo rejected APS's argument, writing that the company's "contention conflicts with the plain wording of APS's policy.... The court declines to ignore the text."
Rowles had also claimed that his firing based on the policy constituted tortious Wrongful; conduct of such character as to subject the actor to civil liability under Tort Law.
In order to establish that a particular act was tortious, a plaintiff must prove that an actionable wrong existed and that damages ensued from that wrong. invasion of privacy invasion of privacy n. the intrusion into the personal life of another, without just cause, which can give the person whose privacy has been invaded a right to bring a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity that intruded. because the policy is "highly offensive to a reasonable person," as defined by the Restatement Restatement
A revision in a company's earlier financial statements.
The need for restating financial figures can result from fraud, misrepresentation, or a simple clerical error. (Second) of Torts [sections] 652(B).
Rambo said that a jury must decide the reasonableness of APS's policy before a determination can be made on Rowles's privacy claim. The judge set an October trial date on the issue.