Court: Random Alcohol Tests Not in Violation of ADA

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The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) case against U.S. Steel Corp., ruled that random tests for alcohol can be performed on probationary employees who work in safety sensitive positions, and that doing so does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In the case, the EEOC argued that the company's policy of conducting breath alcohol testing at random on probationary employees could be considered a medical examination and that ADA restricts employers from requiring such exams unless it meets the standard of being "job related and consistent with business necessity."

Meanwhile, U.S. Steel held that its policy was lawful on several conditions, including that it was job related and consistent with business necessity, that it was part of a voluntary health and safety program negotiated and agreed upon with its union, and necessitated by the company's obligations under federal safety and environmental laws and regulations (Source: SHRM).

The court decision affirms that employers can take reasonable steps, including random alcohol tests, to keep workers safe on the job. Although, employers should proceed cautiously and still heed the EEOC's guidance regarding medical examinations under ADA.

Please note that by providing you with research information that may be contained in this article, ERC is not providing a qualified legal opinion. As such, research information that ERC provides to its members should not be relied upon or considered a substitute for legal advice. The information that we provide is for general employer use and not necessarily for individual application.

HR Insights Blog | Top 5 Workplace Attributes Most Important to Top Performers

Top 5 Workplace Attributes Most Important to Top Performers

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According to the results of the 2011 Top Performer Engagement Survey, conducted by ERC on over 2,400 top performers in Northeast Ohio as part of its NorthCoast 99 program, 24% of top performers report challenging and meaningful work as the most important attribute that they seek in jobs. This attribute continues to be most important to top performers when compared to other attributes, and has been consistently ranked as most important over the past five years.

Both compensation and job security were the second most important attributes with 14% of top performers reporting compensation and job security as the number one most important job attribute. Work-life benefits and career development were other important job attributes that top performers ranked as most important in 2011.

“It’s important to consider what your top performers value as most important when prioritizing and budgeting for HR and workplace initiatives,” says Susan Pyles, Senior Talent Consultant & Trainer. She adds, “By making sure that your workplace is meeting the needs and interests of your top people, you’re more likely to retain those employees.”

Note that percentages reflect the percentage of all rankings as the #1 most important job attribute by top performers.

For more information or to purchase the 2011 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report, please click here.

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