April 09, 2020

Employee terminate after violating employer zero drug policy

New York City Fire Department [NYFD] filed disciplinary charges against an emergency medical technician [EMT] in its Emergency Medical Dispatch unit [EMD] serving as a "call taker" alleging that EMT violated NYCFD's zero-tolerance drug policy after he had failed a random drug test and a follow-up drug test about administered about month later.

Section 6.1(D) of NYC's Emergency Medical Service Operating Guide "strictly prohibits, among others, the use of illegal drugs that can lead to impairment while on duty" and marijuana is included among its definition of "illegal drugs." Further, NYFD rules provide that for a positive drug test for an illegal drug, the penalty for a first offense is termination.*

New York City's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Administrative Law Judge Ingrid M. Addison found no mitigation in EMT’s explanation for his use of marijuana and, in consideration of NYC's zero-tolerance drug policy, recommended EMT’s termination from his employment.

* Although NYCFD rules provide that the penalty to be imposed for a positive drug test for an illegal drug for a first offense is termination, NYFD has occasionally entered into agreements with uniformed members who tested positive for an illegal drug where penalties short of termination were imposed.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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