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EEOC Sues Temp Agency for Allegedly Failing to Hire a Methadone User

On November 3, 2015 the EEOC filed the suit EEOC v. Randstad, US, LP, 1:15-cv-03354, claiming that the Baltimore based temporary agency refused to hire April Cox because of her disability.  According to the lawsuit, Ms. Cox applied with the company in January 2015 for a position as a production laborer. The site manager informed her that her experience was sufficient enough to allow advancement to the next stage of the hiring process which would require a pre-employment drug test and gave her a cup in order to provide a urine sample. According to the EEOC’s suit, Ms. Cox then divulged that she was in a medically supervised methadone treatment program at which time the site manager took the cup back from her and stated, “I’m sure we don’t hire people on methadone, but I will contact my supervisor”.  Although she explained that she had no medical restrictions that would keep her from performing the job, she was told that she would not be hired due to her methadone use. According to the suit, Ms. Cox enrolled in the recovery program in 2011 and had not used illegal drug since that time.

The EEOC claims the conduct violates the ADA and filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division. Debra M Lawrence, Regional EEOC Attorney, stated “Medically prescribed methadone is a common and safe treatment for people recovering from drug addiction. The Commission will take action if an employer refuses to hire a qualified applicant based on unwarranted or speculative fears or biases about her disability or her medically supervised drug rehabilitation.”

Understanding the EEOC’s position on cases such as this one, as well as creating a  drug free policy statement can help you avoid this type of situation. Our Summer 2015 edition of The Monitor focused on drug testing and also provides additional information to consider when reviewing your own policy.

This is presented for information purposes only and Hire Image always recommends that you consult an employment attorney when defining and implementing a drug screening program.

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