An employer that terminated an employee for concealing his prior drug addiction on a job application to be a security guard did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. Reilly v. Lehigh Valley Hospital, +2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6364.
While the ADA generally protects former drug addicts from employment discrimination, the appeals court finds the employer had a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for termination. That's because the employee falsely answered on a health information form as part of the hiring process that he had never been treated for alcoholism or drug addiction. The employer's form included a warning that "falsifying information could result in withdrawal of an employment offer."
The employer found out about the dishonesty in a round-about way. The security guard went to the emergency room of the hospital where he worked because of an on-the-job eye injury. He disclosed to the treating physician that he had a history of drug use and was a recovering addict. Afterwards, the emergency room sent the physician's report to the hospital's employee health services department which, in turn, notified HR.
The guard claimed that he thought he had answered the questions truthfully because his past treatment was to resolve a driving under the influence charge, not his former addictions. The appeals court rejected that argument, explaining that an employer could regard the responses as dishonest. So, the court finds nothing to show that disability discrimination was the real reason for termination in this case.