Drug Testing 2011

In our efforts to get along with the European aviation people you no doubt have read about our efforts to get their maintenance people to do drug and alcohol testing and background checks, on their employees, like we do here in our country, regarding...

The ADA prohibits employers from asking about prescription drugs unless the employees are seen acting in an impaired manner that would compromise safety. Employers must have reasonable belief that a person is unable to do the job or is a threat because of a medical condition. Some have suggested that the ADA has been compromised by the rubric of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The court in this case said that since most of the plaintiffs were not in fact disabled in accord with the ADA requirements they could not use the ADA to base the case on. Therefore the court dismissed the case and ordered the District Court to dismiss the claims of the nondisabled plaintiffs. There is however a split of opinion on the matter of being disabled in order to use the ADA and some courts have allowed nondisabled parties to use the ADA to assert their case. This Appeals Court however did not.

This was a technical dismissal that never really got to the issues in the case, but again speaks to the difficulty in dealing with drug testing in the workplace. Other cases in the courts may open this area for further examination. Comments to aerolaw@att.net. 


Stephen P. Prentice is an attorney whose practice involves FAA-NTSB issues. He has an Airframe and Powerplant certificate and is an ATP rated pilot. Heis a USAF veteran. Send comments to aerolaw@att.net.

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