News & Resources

One strike pre-employment screening test does not violate federal or state law, court rules

Apr 15, 2011 Matt Roesly

According to Employee Screening Resources, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a hiring policy that permanently disqualifies job candidates from future employment does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The "one strike rule" drug and alcohol test is taken as part of the pre-employment screening process.
 The plaintiff in the case - Santiago Lopez - had applied to be a longshoreman in 1997, but failed a drug and alcohol test that was administered by the Pacific Maritime Association at the time, and was subsequently exempted from further consideration. In 2004, he reapplied and was denied based on the results of the test he had taken seven years earlier. Following this, Lopez filed a suit claiming that the association had violated the ADA and the state Fair Employment and Housing Act by discriminating against a rehabilitated drug addict. The court ruled that the policy did not violate the law because all candidates who tested positive for drug use were eliminated from further consideration, regardless of whether they failed based on an addiction or recreational drug use. "Nothing in the record suggests that defendant targeted or attempted to target recovered drug addicts," said the ruling, according to Westlaw News and Insight.