Practice Areas

EEOC Sues Employer for Enforcement of Drug and Alcohol Policy

May 2012

By: James B. Sherman, Esq.

In EEOC v. Product Fabricators, Inc., 666 F.3d 1170 (8 th Cir. 2012),the EEOC sued an employer under the ADA for enforcing its drug and alcohol policy, which provided:

"Employees should report to their supervisor when they are taking any medication, prescription or over-the-counter, known to cause dizziness or drowsiness or that might affect any of their senses, motor ability, judgment, reflexes or otherwise affect their ability to perform their job. Any violation of this policy may result in discipline up to and including termination."

The EEOC claimed in its suit that the employer:

  • Impermissibly required employees to disclose "disability-related" information without first having reason to believe, based on objective evidence, that an individual employee has a current condition or impairment that renders him or her unable to perform the essential functions of his or her position with or without a reasonable accommodation, or the employee's condition or impairment poses a direct threat to the employee or others.
  • Maintained a policy that violates both the ADA and GINA.
  • Maintained confidential medical information in employee personnel files, in violation of the ADA.
  • Unlawfully discriminated against individuals based on their disability or perceived disability.

Note: The employer, faced with a class based lawsuit in federal court brought by the federal government, settled/entered into a consent decree.