Quit rehab twice, get fired. No help from ADA or FMLA

Bryan Shirley had a problem with Vicodin, so he took medical leave to get treatment for addiction. After completing a detox period, he left the treatment program early. Kept using. The boss gave him a second chance. After one day of detox, he checked out of the program.

The employer fired him for violating its drug-free workplace policy which provides that an employee “who rejects treatment or who leaves a treatment program prior to being properly discharged will be terminated.”

Shirley sued claiming ADA and FMLA violations. Denied, and denied. Shirley v. Precision Castparts (5th Cir 08/12/2013).

ADA: The court said that Shirley was “currently engaging” in illegal drug use and that he was fired “on the basis of such use.” Also, Shirley couldn’t squeeze into the ADA’s safe harbor provision because his continued use of Vicodin after detox gave the employer a reasonable belief that he continued to have a drug problem at the time he was fired.

FMLA: The employer fired him for violation of its drug policy, and that was not pretextual.

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