Indiana federal court dismissed claims of disability discrimination and retaliation by a DOT-regulated driver who failed a random drug test due to prescription opioid use , believing that he had not sufficiently followed employer policy or DOT regulations when he had not produced a Letter of Safety Concern from the Prescribing Physician. Ross v. FedEx Freight, n ° 1: 20-cv-00642-JMS-MJD (SD Ind. September 21, 2021).
The driver was prescribed pain medication in 2014 following a dental procedure. At that time, in accordance with employer policy and DOT regulations, the driver disclosed the order to the employer and provided documentation of the order. The driver was then ordered to take a day off if he needed pain medication.
DOT regulations also required the driver to undergo regular DOT medical examinations and disclose, through medical examination report forms, the use of any medication that could adversely affect their ability to operate a vehicle. safely. Between 2016 and the time of his dismissal, the driver did not disclose the use of any prescription drugs on his DOT medical examination report forms.
On March 30, 2019, the driver took the pain relievers prescribed to him five years earlier. The next day, April 1, 2019, he tested positive for opioid use in a random drug test required by the DOT. Prior to taking the test, the driver disclosed to the Medical Examination Officer (“MRO”) that he had taken pain medication prescribed for him in 2014. In accordance with employer policy and regulations. DOT, the MRO ordered the driver to provide a safety issue. Letter from the driver’s prescribing physician who, among other things, would confirm that the drug should not pose a safety risk and that the driver’s use of the drug was monitored by a healthcare professional. However, the driver’s prescribing doctor had since retired and the doctors who continued to work in the office would not provide such a letter because the drug had been prescribed five years earlier. As a result of the driver’s failure to provide the necessary documentation to support his use of a controlled substance, the employer terminated the driver.
In February 2020, the driver filed a federal action for, among other things, retaliation, discrimination based on disability, and failure to accommodate under the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 USC § 12112, et seq. The employer requested summary judgment on all claims, arguing that the driver could not establish a At first glance disability or retaliation because, in part, the employee did not follow the employer’s policy on drug and alcohol testing.
The court ruled in favor of the employer, noting that the driver had violated employer policy and DOT regulations by “failing to provide a letter of safety concern regarding his use of the opioid prescription. five years old ”. In addition, the driver never made a specific request for accommodation. Regarding the reprisal allegation, the Court found that the driver could not establish that he had engaged in a protected activity because he had failed to disclose his use of pain relievers on his report forms DOT medical assessment for at least the previous three years.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the employer’s motion for summary judgment in its entirety.
Jackson Lewis PC © 2021Revue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 267