U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Temporary Agency Refused to Hire Laborer Because She Was a Recovering Drug Addict in Medically Supervised Treatment Program, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE - Baltimore-based temporary labor agency Randstad, US, LP, violated federal law when it refused to hire a qualified applicant for a laborer position because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, April Cox, a recovering drug addict, has not used illegal drugs since being enrolled in a medically supervised rehabilitation program in 2011. She receives medically prescribed methadone as part of her ongoing, supervised drug rehabilitation treatment. In January 2015, she applied with Randstad in Timonium, Md., for a vacant production laborer position at one of the staffing agency's clients. Randstad's site manager told Cox she had enough experience to advance to the next part of the hiring process and requested that Cox provide a urine sample for a pre-employment drug text.
EEOC charges, however, that when Cox disclosed that she was in a medically supervised methadone treatment program, the site manager took back the cup for the urine test and said, "I'm sure we don't hire people on methadone, but I will contact my supervisor." Even though Cox repeatedly called back and informed the site manager that she did not have any medical restrictions from performing the laborer job, Randstad told Cox it would not hire her because she used methadone, EEOC says.
Such alleged conduct violates the ADA, which prohibits disability discrimination. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Randstad, US, LP, Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-03354-RDB) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"Ms. Cox was well qualified for the production laborer job and has worked hard to overcome her addiction," said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. "Randstad violated federal law when it ignored her qualifications and refused to hire her simply because she is a recovering drug addict."
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "Medically prescribed methadone is a common and safe treatment for people recovering from drug addiction. The Commission will take action if an employer refuses to hire a qualified applicant based on unwarranted or speculative fears or biases about her disability or her medically supervised drug rehabilitation."
EEOC Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in EEOC's Philadelphia District Office also handle discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.