Court Holds Employee Lawfully Terminated for Failure to Disclose Drug Addition

  16 May 2014

Robert Reilly (Reilly) was employed by LVH as a part-time Security Officer. After receiving a conditional employment offer, Reilly completed and signed a six-page employee health information form.

The final two questions on the employment form were: "Have you ever been recognized as or diagnosed with alcoholism or drug addiction? Have you ever been or are you now being treated for alcoholism or drug addiction? . . . If so, specify type of treatment[.]" Reilly replied "no" to both questions, and left blank the follow-up question requesting more specifics on the type of treatment. A handwritten note underneath the questions was as follows: "denies drug/alcohol addiction." Reilly signed the form subject to the condition that "falsifying of this information could result in withdrawal of the employment offer or if subsequently discovered termination of [his] employment."

Subsequently, after completing an over-night shift, Reilly was admitted to the emergency room to receive treatment for an eye injury he believed was work related. Reilly disclosed to the treating physician that he had a history of drug addiction, and was a recovering drug addict. The treating physician noted this history on the medical report. The records were then sent to the LVH Employee Health Services Department, which then notified the LVH Human Resources Department of Reilly's statement that he was a recovering addict. Subsequently, LVH terminated Reilly's employment due to his failure to disclose his history of drug addiction.

Reilly then filed suit against LVH alleging disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The District Court granted LVH's summary judgment motion, concluding that assuming arguendo that Reilly had established a prima facie case of disability discrimination, LVH had articulated a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating Reilly — his dishonesty on the employment form — and Reilly failed to satisfy his burden of producing sufficient evidence to show this reason was pretextual. Reilly appealed, and the appellate court upheld the District Court’s decision. Read More.