Randstad sued by EEOC for refusal to hire Methadone user
On November 3, 2015, Employment Equal Opportunity Commission has filed a suit against an employer who purportedly refused to hire a worker who was recovering from drug addiction using methadone stating that it is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC v. Randstad, US, LP, 1:15-cv-03354 (D. MD. Nov. 3, 2015)
April Cox is a recovering drug addict and is enrolled in a supervised methadone treatment program since 2011. She has been undergoing regular monthly urine testing and counseling and has been taking methadone as a part of her rehabilitation treatment. In January 2015, she applied for a job at Randstad in Timonium, Maryland, as a production laborer at one of the staffing agency’s clients. The on-site manager informed her that she had enough experience and was allowed to continue to the next level of the selection program and was then asked to submit her pre-employment drug test. She, then, informed the authorities that she was taking methadone as a part of her treatment and can provide the details of the treatment if necessary.
The manager upon knowing that she was undergoing methadone treatment stated that they do not hire people on methadone but would still contact the supervisor to confirm the same. She later provided the employer with all the necessary information including treatment details stating that she wasn’t restricted from anything but working as a truck driver or airline pilot. Despite this, she was never asked to take the drug test and wasn’t hired due to her use of methadone.
EEOC set forth the following ADA violations by Randstad:
- Cox is disabled because she is a recovering substance abuser;
- Cox has a record of disability; and
- Cox was regarded as having a disability based on her methadone use.
EEOC is seeking injunctive relief, back pay, pain and suffering and punitive damages amongst other things.
Debra M. Lawrence, Regional Attorney for EEOC has stated that prescribed methadone treatment is safe and common for people recovering from drug addiction. She further stated that actions shall be pursued against employers if they refuse to hire a qualified applicant based on unwarranted or speculative fears or biases about an applicant’s disability or his/her medical supervised drug rehabilitation.