Missile Plant Could Refuse To Rehire Recovering Addicts, Supreme
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 11, 2003
WASHINGTON, DC--On December 2, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that a Tucson, Arizona missile plant could legitimately refuse to rehire a former employee who claimed to have overcome his drug addiction.
But the high court sent the case of Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to determine if the company discriminated against the worker because of his disability.
The appeals court will have to decide whether Raytheon violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it refused to rehire Joel Hernandez, a 25-year employee who quit his job in 1991 to avoid being fired when a drug test showed he had used cocaine. More than two years later, after completing a drug treatment program, Hernandez was turned down when he applied for a different job. The plant, then known as Hughes Missile Systems, cited an unwritten policy of refusing to rehire all employees fired for breaking company rules, including drug abuse.
The ADA protects former addicts from discrimination if they no longer use drugs and have been treated for their addiction.
The Supreme Court said that Hernandez failed to show that the company specifically refused to rehire him because of his disability. The appeals court will now have to re-examine the facts to determine whether Hernandez' disability was the real reason the company did not rehire him.
The case is Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez, 02-749.
Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez (U.S. Supreme Court)
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/02-749.pdf Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
"National Council on Disability says partial victory in Supreme Court's Hernandez V. Raytheon Decision" (NCD news release)