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Couch White Achieves Dismissal of Division of Human Rights Complaint Relating to Employer Drug Testing

Apr 24, 2020

On April 17, 2020, the New York State Division of Human Rights (“DHR”) issued a Determination and Order after Investigation dismissing a discrimination complaint filed by a former employee’s assertion that his termination, following a drug screening, violated the employee’s civil rights.  In this matter, Couch White attorney Jennifer Kavney Harvey represented the prevailing employer, who prevailed because the employee had failed to establish probable cause.  In the Determination and Order, the DHR held that “where the employer has knowledge of current illegal use of drugs, the employee is not entitled by law to accommodation, and may be terminated.”   Accordingly, the termination was the result of a legitimate and non-discriminatory business reason, and “was not motivated by discriminatory animus.”

This matter underscores the need for employers to apply policies with regard to drug use in a consistent manner, to communicate that policy to employees, and to apply such testing equally across the protected classes of individuals.