A federal appeals court upheld the termination of an employee who tested positive for amphetamines on a random drug test – despite his claim that the result was due to over-the-counter drug use – and rejected his arguments that the random drug test was an impermissible medical examination and that the Medical Review Officer’s questions constituted an impermissible disability-related inquiry. Turner v. Phillips 66 Co., Case No. 19-5030 (10th Cir. Oct. 16, 2019).
Articles Discussing Post Hire Inquiries and Exams Under the ADA.
Executive Summary: Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Painter v. Illinois Department of Transportation affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the employer in a lawsuit alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), finding that a reasonable jury would have to find that the two mental-health examinations at issue were “job related and consistent with business necessity.”
When used lawfully, post-offer, pre-employment medical examinations can be a powerful tool. But a recent federal district court case demonstrates the importance of carefully implementing such programs.
On October 12, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit found in favor of a large transportation employer’s driver sleep study testing requirement in a lawsuit challenging the practice under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiff driver in Parker v. Crete Carrier Corporation alleged that his employer violated the ADA by adopting a program requiring a class of its truck drivers, which included him, to undergo in-lab sleep studies.1 After medical advisory recommendations made to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) linked obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to an increased risk of vehicle crashes, the employer implemented the sleep study requirement using driver Body Mass Index (BMI) as the sole criteria for participation.
Many employers require that applicants pass a pre-employment medical exam to ensure they are physically capable of doing the job. Employers should be aware that pre-employment medical exams, while not categorically barred, could violate several federal statutes and draw unwanted attention from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or the Commission).