Law and Order: Human Resources Unit

Drug-testing employees is pretty common-place amongst employers.  You have to be careful how you go about it, of course, but for the most part it’s pretty routine.  So why is an auto parts manufacturer settling a dispute with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over drug testing – and to the tune of $750k?

Here’s what happened:

  • In 2007, Dura Automotive Systems drug tested its employees in a Tennessee manufacturing plant.
  • Of the 12 substances the employees were tested for, 7 were legal prescription drugs.  (I think it’s safe to assume they were the fun ones – you know, like beta blockers.)
  • Any employee who tested positively for the legal prescription drugs was then told to disclose the medical condition that required the drug and subsequently stop taking them or be terminated.  (Keep in mind, this was without evidence of job performance being affected by the drugs.)
  • The company then shared with its entire workforce the names of employees who tested positively.
  • Finally, Dura fired any employees who refused to stop taking their prescriptions, and also fired individuals who were unable to perform their job duties because they had stopped taking their prescription drugs.

I know what you’re thinking – “How do I get a job at Dura Automotive?!”  (Yep, they’re real mavericks over there.)

To read more on this nearly unbelievable EEOC case and for info on why Dura’s actions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), click here.


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