Magazine article HRMagazine

Can Companies Bar Job Applicants Who Fail Drug Tests from Future Employment?

Magazine article HRMagazine

Can Companies Bar Job Applicants Who Fail Drug Tests from Future Employment?

Article excerpt

No. A company that implements such a policy would be violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from denying someone future employment based on that person's past failure of a drug test.

Recovering addicts who are no lon- ger abusing drugs are protected from discrimination based on their past drug addiction, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

That safeguard is granted to people who are receiving treatment for drug addiction or those who have been reha- bilitated successfully.

So, an employer subject to the ADA shouldn't have a policy stating that employees who fail a drug test will not be eligible for rehire, nor should it apply such a restriction without a formal policy.

However, the ADA does allow employers to test employees and job applicants for illegal drugs to ensure a drug-free workplace. Companies have the right to discharge or deny employ- ment to those who currently engage in illegal drug use.

That means if an individual tests positive on a drug test, he or she is considered a current drug user under the ADA, justifying an employer's reason- able belief that involvement with drugs is an ongoing problem. …

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