Louisiana woman fired for taking prescription ADHD drugs

A Honda dealer in Covington, Louisiana has agreed to pay a former employee $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit accused Covington’s Honda of discriminating against an employee for having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and taking ADHD medications prescribed by her doctor.

According to the lawsuit, the employee revealed during the hiring process in August 2016 that she had ADHD and needed Adderall to manage the condition. The employee took a drug test that initially came back positive for amphetamines, which contains Adderall, but “when verified [the employee’s] prescription, the medical review officer gave a definitive ‘negative result’” and the employee got to work.

At the end of September, the employee’s husband had a motorcycle accident for which he had to go to hospital. The lawsuit alleges that just over a week later, a manager at Honda or Covington told the employee she looked “emotional” and told her to stop taking her medications.

A few days later, on October 11, 2016, the employee came to work without taking her ADHD medication. The same manager allegedly told the employee she was “acting weird, offensive and unfocused,” to which the employee replied that it was because she followed his instructions and didn’t take Adderall before coming to work. The manager then ordered the employee to take a drug test.

The employee submitted to a drug test at Kwik Clinic and Occupational Health, the same clinic where the employee had her first drug test, and again the initial results showed a “suspect positive.” The employee was told a medical review officer would contact her to review her Adderall prescription. The same day, the clinic sent Honda of Covington a copy of the initial results stating in “large letters marked with asterisks” that the results had not yet been confirmed.

Three days later, on October 14, a medical assessment officer contacted the worker and re-verified her prescription. The employee then received another call, this time from the manager who told her she had been fired because of the positive drug test. The employee informed the manager that she had just spoken to the medical review officer, but the manager replied that the decision had already been made. The employee asked how he would explain her termination if the end result was negative.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” the manager would have replied.

The clinic sent the results to the employer the same day. On the termination form, also completed on October 14, the manager wrote: “Employee appeared disabled on 10/11. Sent for drug test. Results not resolved by 10/14.”

Hollingsworth Richards, LLC, which operates Honda of Covington, not only paid the employee $100,000 in arrears, but agreed to provide training to managers and employees about disability-based discrimination.

“The EEOC is delighted with this resolution. This decree protects workers’ rights under the [Americans with Disabilities Act]said Rudy Sustaita, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office.

A man with the same name and job title as the one in the lawsuit is currently listed as an employee of the recreational vehicle dealer alongside Honda of Covington, with whom it shares some of the property.

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