Mandatory third-party drug test aimed only at safe operation of machinery may not violate ADA
Under the Americans wiith Disabilities Act, employer medical examinations and disability inquiries are closely regulated and in many situations prohibited. The Dura Auto Sys. Company required employees to submit to third-party drug testing limited only to screening for "prescription drugs that warn against 'operating machinery.' " An employee, Bates, sued arguing that Dura was violating the ADA through this mandatory testing.
The District Court Judge agreed and ruled that Dura violated the ADA as a matter of law. The Court of Appeals majority, with one dissenter, over-ruled the District Court and sent the case back after Dura appealed. The majority concluded that if Dura's explanation of the testing held up, and it could prove that its third-party testing did not result in disclosure of ADA-confidential facts to the employer, its' testing program may pass constiutional muster. Dura will need to persuade a jury that the test design and implementation are not likely to reveal to Dura protected employee information.