Louisiana woman fired for taking prescribed ADHD medicine, awarded $100k

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A Honda dealership in Covington, Louisiana has agreed to pay a former employee $100,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit accused Honda of Covington of discriminating against an employee for having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and taking ADHD medicine prescribed by her doctor.

According to the suit, the employee disclosed during the hiring process in August 2016 that she had ADHD and that took Adderall to manage the condition. The employee took a drug test which initially came back positive for amphetamines, which Adderall contains, but “upon verifying [the employee’s] prescription, the medical review officer issued a final ‘negative result'” and the employee started her job.

In late September, the employee’s husband was in a motor cycle accident for which he had to go to the hospital. The suit alleges that a little over a week later a manager at Honda of Covington told the employee she looked “emotional” and told her to stop taking her medicine.

A few days later on October 11, 2016, the employee showed up to work without taking her ADHD medication. The same manager allegedly told the employee she was “was acting weird, off, and unfocused” to which the employee replied that it was because she had followed his instruction and not taken Adderall prior to coming in 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 the employee had taken her initial drug test at, and again the initial results returned a “presumptive positive.” The employee was told that 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 that noted in “large lettering marked by asterisks” that the results were not yet confirmed.

Three days later on October 14, a medical review officer contacted the employee and again verified her prescription. The employee then received another phone call, this time from the manager who told her that she had been fired for the positive drug test. The employee informed the manager that she had just spoken with the medical review officer but the manager replied that the decision had already been made. The employee asked how he would explain her termination when the final result came back negative.

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

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

In addition to paying the employee $100,000 in backpay, Hollingsworth Richards, LLC, which operates Honda of Covington, agreed to provide managers and employees with training on disability-based discrimination.

“The EEOC is pleased with this resolution. This decree protects the rights of employees 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 a staff member for the recreational vehicle dealership adjacent to Honda of Covington with which it shares some ownership.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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