EEOC: Walmart Violated ADA in Not Allowing Applicant to Take Alternate Drug Detection Test

The Americans With Disabilities Act permits employers to make a job offer conditional on the applicant submitting to a drug screen, but employers must provide an alternative screening if the applicant can’t do the screening the employer prefers.

A Wal Mart store in Cockeysville, Maryland, that insisted that a job applicant take a urinalysis is now on the hook for $72,500 because of its stubbornness in not allowing the applicant–who suffered from end renal diseases and thus could not produce urine–to take another type of drug screening that would have achieved the same ends of making sure that the applicant was drug-free.

After learning of her disease, the assistant store manager told her to ask the designated drug testing company about alternate tests, the EEOC said. According to the complaint, Jones went to the drug testing facility the same day and learned that the facility could do other drug tests if the employer requested it. Jones relayed this information to the Walmart assistant store manager, but management refused to order an alternative drug test. Jones’s application was closed for failing to take a urinalysis within 24 hours.

In addition to the monetary relief, Walmart also agreed to revise it applicant drug screen form to advise applicants that alternate drug screens will be available as a reasonable accommodation for applicants to whom a conditional offer of employment has been made in the Cockeysville store, whose physical condition prevents them from producing urine and how to request a reasonable accommodation. Wal-Mart also will provide training on the ADA and the revised drug screen form to its market and regional human resources directors, as well as to people with hiring responsibility at the Cockeysville store.

So an important lesson for all employers–don’t back yourself into a legal deadend when testing for drugs, or it will cost you in the end.

Read more.



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