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Fired UPS worker fights drug test policy

August 20, 2004
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A 17-year United Parcel Service employee who suffered from anxiety and depression claims she was wrongly fired after a company drug test discovered an anti-anxiety drug in her system, the Associated Press reports.

The medicine was prescribed by her doctor, she said in the federal lawsuit filed in Pittsburgh.

UPS's Employee Assistance Program made the woman disclose her prescription medication and stop taking it — against the advice of her physician — as a condition for returning to work, the lawsuit states.

The suit seeks to represent various groups of employees in a class-action:

  • Those in an Employee Assistance Program who had to disclose what prescription medicines they take;

  • Workers made to supply urine samples that were tested for legal prescription drugs;

  • Workers the company prohibited from using physician-prescribed medicines;

  • Workers fired for using those prescriptions; and,

  • Workers subjected to a hostile work environment for using prescribed medicines.

    The lawsuit said UPS officials determined that the anti-anxiety medication was not an appropriate drug for a recovering alcoholic to take, and that the woman went through a 30-day treatment program for alcohol addiction in 2000.

    UPS has an anti-discrimination policy and isn't unfair to anyone with a disability, said a UPS spokesman.

    UPS has 350,000 employees, 260,000 in nonsafety-sensitive jobs, the suit states. The 17-year vet worked as a package sorter at a UPS facility when she was fired.

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