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Can I be legally terminated for testing positive for prescription meds after a return to duty DOT test, even after prior notice?

Yosemite National Park, CA |

Many DOT TITLE 49 PART 40 regs were violated by my employer when I was terminated after testing positive for prescription pain meds on a return-to-duty drug test despite having a written note from my supervisor stating I notified him I was using the drug prior to being told to test. The MRO reversed the positive to negative after interviewing me, my workers comp doctor, and receiving a copy of the prescription. My employer cancelled my workers comp daily benefits when I was terminated, as well as my medical and life insurance, and did not notify me when they received the negative result until 4 months later. I think I have a strong case for damages, backpay and benefits. Any takers?

Attorney Answers 2

  1. Best answer

    The facts you provide are too slim to make an intake decision on at this time. There are some prescription drugs that could disqualify you from driving yet still allow for a clean test if prescribed. Much more would need to be known I note on another post regarding this same issue you mentioned you are in a union. Start there. If you get no satisfaction and you believe you have rights beyond there, I am sure there are several attorneys who might be willing to look at your matter.

    By the way, among attorneys, any potential client who insists they have a great case at the outset are generally potential clients of which to be cautious. If you want quality representation let the attorney decide if it is a strong case or not.

    Good luck to you.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

  2. As I mentioned to you in my other response, if you have a disability under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA") that requires you to take the pain medications, you may have some different avenues open to you. Even if you are a driver, and the pain medications preclude you from driving, if you have a disability the employer may have to engage in a good faith, interactive process to see if there is some other job that you can do. Whether you follow up with your union or a private attorney, bear in mind your statutes of limitations. In other words, if you wait too long to pursue a lawsuit, your right to do so may be lost forever.

    I do agree with Mr. Pederson: people telling me what a great lawsuit they have immediately sets up a red flag for me. I worry that someone telling me that may be too emotionally invested in their own case, and won't easily listen to what I have to tell them.

    Good luck with your legal matter.

    Craig T. Byrnes

    Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not offering legal advice, nor forming an attorney-client relationship with you. I am not representing you, nor doing anything to protect your legal rights. If you believe that you have suffered a legal wrong, take action before any statute or limitations expires, or your right to do so may be lost forever. Good luck in your legal matter.

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