An employer can have a “one-strike” drug-testing policy that permanently disqualifies applicants who have previously flunked a drug test, according to a federal appeals court in California.
In this case, an employer rejected an applicant for a longshoreman job when he failed a pre-employment drug screening.
Some time afterward, the man allegedly stopped using drugs, but when he reapplied, the employer rejected him again under its one-strike rule.
He sued, claiming that the one-strike policy violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. That law prohibits employers from discriminating against rehabilitated drug users.
But the court said that while the law would prohibit a company from discriminating against a new applicant simply because the person was a recovered drug addict, it didn’t prohibit a company from discriminating against someone who was a current drug user when he first applied for a job.
It’s okay to disqualify such people permanently, the court said.