Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fired for taking prescription drugs

Jobs that are prone to safety hazard are taking more initiative to make sure their employees are working under safe conditions. Dura Automotive Systems recently fired an employee because she was taking a narcotic, prescribed by her doctor, that was deemed unsafe by the employers standards. The narcotic was detected during a routine drug screening. However, the unfortunate female was not alone. Forty-four other employees of the company also tested positive for prescription drugs. They were all put on a one-month leave of absence and were required to pass a second test in order to be eligible to return to work.

Dura Automotive's attorney justified their concerns by saying, "Given the liability for industrial accidents or workplace injuries involving prescription drug abuse, employers cannot afford not to address this issue" (Workers can be fired for using legal drugs). Refusing to address drug use, legal or not, could result in a company lawsuit for negligence. Even giving employees a second chance could produce damaging results. Dura Automotive and similar industrial employers are faced with this dilemma and simply not sure how to proceed.

Of course, not all job settings will question prescription drug use or terminate employees for it; however, employees in job settings that pose specific safety hazard concerns should be aware that prescription drug use may compromise their employment status within the company.

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