Finally, as to Angel’s retaliation claim, the Court held that Angel did not engage in any “protected activity” and could not establish any causal connection between his termination and any alleged protected activity. All of his claims were dismissed.

This case highlights the importance of having a written policy requiring “safety-sensitive” employees (i.e., those with dangerous job duties) to report the use of prescription medications that may impair the ability to perform their job duties safely – before reporting to work while using such medications and before being selected for drug testing. Such reporting triggers an employer’s obligation to engage in the “interactive dialogue” required by the ADA to determine potential reasonable accommodation.  In this case, it was undisputed that the employee was aware of the policy and that he did not comply with it. If the employer did not have such a clear policy that was distributed to all employees — and that permitted it to take disciplinary action for violating the policy — the result may have been different. Employers must be careful, however, not to apply such policies to non-safety-sensitive employees because there is no business justification to do so.