- Bam Margera of "Jackass" fame sued his employers Aug. 9, alleging he was fired from the franchise's fourth film because of his disability.
- The defendants required Margera to sign a "wellness agreement" as a condition of continued employment, according to the complaint, filed in California state court. He submitted to regular drug testing as required, and he allegedly was fired when he tested positive for Adderall.
- Margera said that he took prescription Adderall for attention deficit disorder and that the medication use did not violate the wellness agreement. Therefore, his termination amounted to disability discrimination, in violation of state law, he said. According to the law firm representing Margera, he is seeking millions in compensation and damages, as well as an injunction to prevent the film's release, scheduled for Oct. 22.
Employers require that workers enter into last-chance agreements for a variety of reasons. One employer required such an agreement following an employee's "disorderly" conduct; another, Boeing, used a last-chance agreement to deal with attendance issues.
Following alcohol abuse or illegal drug use, these agreements can require workers to undergo rehabilitation or submit to testing as a condition of continued employment. "Under the [Americans with Disabilities Act], employers are advised against dictating employee medical treatment," according to the Job Accommodation Network, an organization funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. "However, a last chance agreement is an exception to this rule; employers get more leeway because they are offering to withhold termination or other discipline when they do not have to do so."
Federal law — and many state laws — prohibit employment discrimination based on disability. Under the ADA, such an impairment can include alcohol addiction or previous drug addiction. Employers likewise can't take adverse employment actions because an employee is using prescribed medication to treat a disability as prescribed, unless that medication poses a safety threat — a high bar spelled out in U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations.
It remains to be seen whether Margera's specific claims will succeed; a hearing for the next step in the litigation process is scheduled for Sept. 8.