The New York Times recently commented on the issue facing employers and employees regarding drug testing and positive results based on prescription drugs. Employees taking Xanax, Oxycodone, and other prescription drugs that demonstrate a positive result for opiates could find themselves out of work for taking the drug that was prescribed by their doctor. The Americans with Disabilities Act provides protection for employees who are erroneously regarded as being current illegal drug users and terminated. However, the New York Times article addresses the situation where employers terminate employees based on taking legally prescribed medication because it may impairs their ability to perform the job or creates a risk/liability to co-workers and the company. Employees terminated for taking prescription drugs may have a claim of disability discrimination if they can demonstrate that they could perform the essential functions of the job with or without an accommodation and they did not pose a risk of harm to others.
This is a developing area in the law that has not been fully addressed in New Jersey or New York. If you believe that you were terminated as a result of taking a prescription drug, please contact our firm for a free consultation.
Date: 10/25/10 – Tom McKinney – Castronovo & McKinney