South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Taking Prescription Drugs Does Not, By Itself, Make a Person Disabled
Description Appeals court held that, contrary to the EEOC's position, a trucking company could refuse to hire as truck drivers persons who took prescription medications that could have harmful side effects. Just because a person takes prescription medicine does not mean they are disabled or perceived as having a disability under the ADA.
Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words Disability; Perceived Disability; Medication; Drivers
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts J.B. Hunt Transport would not hire truck drivers who used prescription medications with side effects that might impair their driving ability. The EEOC sued Hunt contending that this violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because Hunt discriminated against those with perceived disabilities. The district court held for Hunt; the EEOC appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. Applicants for driver positions who suffer from conditions treated with prescription medications with side effects that could impair driving ability, are not regarded as having a substantially limited major life activity simply because they take medication. Hence, they are not disabled under the ADA. It is legitimate for an employer to refuse to hire employees who take a medication that could have dangerous side effects given the occupation involved.

Citation EEOC v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., --- F.3d --- (2003 WL 245658, 2nd Cir., 2003)

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