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One-Strike Rule Does Not Discriminate Against Recovering Drug Addicts

On September 21, 2011 in Lopez v. Pacific Maritime Association "PMA" (United States Court of Appeals – 9th Circuit, No. 09-55698) the court found that the defendant's one-strike rule did not discriminate against the plaintiff, a recovering drug addict. The court held there is no discrimination when an individual is terminated as a result of a failed drug test. This is explicitly distinguished from termination resulting from learning of an individual's drug addiction. Importantly, the court found that there was no evidence to suggest that the one-strike rule was adopted with any sort of discriminatory purpose. When it is company police, it is lawful to terminate those employees who were using drugs at the time of applying for the position.

Additionally, it was inconsequential that the plaintiff had written a letter detailing his drug addiction to the employer because the employer learned of this after making the decision to permanently disqualify him from pending employment. The court found no evidence that the one-strike rule discriminates against recovering or recovered drug addicts because the rule eliminates anyone who tests positive for drugs at the time of the drug test. Additionally, the court found that the one-strike rule did not intentionally exclude recovered drug addicts from its work force; rather, it seeks to eliminate those applicants who are using drugs at the time of application for employment.

If you are facing an employment law related matter such as filing a discrimination claim then you should speak discuss your legal options with an experienced Southern California employment law attorney. Don't hesitate to contact a member of our legal team and see how an attorney will be able to assist you.

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