If you ever needed an example of taking a good idea too far, here it is.
Dura Automotive Systems, a Michigan-based automotive parts company, will have to pay $750,000 to settle an ADA lawsuit that alleges the company overstepped its legal bounds when carrying out its drug testing policy.
The problem was which drugs Dura tested for. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the company tested for 12 substances, but only five were illegal controlled substances.
The other seven tested for were legal medications that were lawfully prescribed for those employees taking them.
Dura required employees testing positive for legally prescribed meds to disclose their medical conditions that required the prescription and told workers they’d have to quit taking the medications or lose their job.
There was no evidence that supported the notion that the meds were affecting their employees’ job performances and the company suspended employees until they stopped taking them.
But that’s not all…
The situation snowballed from there. The EEOC said, “Dura conducted the drug tests in such a manner as to disclose to its entire work force the identities of those who tested positive.”
The EEOC filed suit in federal court after a conciliation attempt failed, and Dura agreed to settle for $750,000, and agreed to change its drug testing policies and provide new training for managers on legal requirements and limitations covered in the ADA.
Stick to the big five
Pass this on to HR: If you’re going to drug test employees, look 0ut for the big five. There can be a gray area with opiates and amphetamines — after all, you don’t want to make accusations in cases of legitimate prescriptions for injuries or Attention Deficit Disorder — but if that gray area arises, don’t go to extreme measures like Dura did.
Has your company run into any problems with employee drug testing that could have cost your firm big? Let us know how you handled it in the comments below.