Partner Manesh Rath Quoted in Article on Legality of Random Alcohol Testing by Employers

Date: Feb 25, 2013

Keller and Heckman Partner Manesh Rath was quoted in a February 21 Thompson Reuters News & Insight article on the dismissal of a case filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case against U.S. Steel Corp over random alcohol testing. In the decision to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United States Steel Corporation et al., U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, No. 10-1824, the judge ruled that the random alcohol testing of new employees at a U.S. Steel plant in western Pennsylvania were necessary for the job and did not constitute unlawful medical testing under the ADA.

The U.S. EEOC sued U.S. Steel in September 2010, alleging that a breath alcohol test given to Abigail DeSimone in February 2008 violated the American With Disabilities Act. DeSimon, who was terminated for failing the test, claimed that the test resulted a false positive because she had diabetes. She settled with U.S. Steel in March 2012, but EEOC continued with the case.

The EEOC's case was an aggressive display of two central strategic aims of the commission: trying to use individual cases to spur companywide changes and addressing emerging areas of employment law, explained Mr. Rath in the article. He added, "I think they were trying to push the envelope in terms of what constitutes prohibited medical testing under the ADA. Mercifully, the judge in the case ruled that alcohol testing is permissible if imposed with the intention of furthering worker safety."