In a 4-3 decision, justices ruled that two of the employees were not in safety-sensitive jobs and therefore should not have been subject to testing under the Casey’s program. Their jobs involved light-duty work counting cigarette boxes in a secure, fenced-in area known as “the cage.”
Justices reinstated a trial court’s ruling that the two employees were entitled to monetary damages for lost pay, rejecting the Casey’s argument that their jobs were in a dangerous environment due to the use of heavy equipment elsewhere in the warehouse.
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Allowing employers to designate which workers have “safety sensitive” positions without regard to job functions would allow them to unfairly target certain people for testing, an outcome the 1998 law intended to avoid, Justice Dana Oxley wrote.
“While we do not disagree that employers likely know best which of their positions are safety sensitive, Casey’s improperly focused on the environment in which a job is performed rather than the job functions in making that determination,” she wrote.
The court rejected challenges brought by the other two employees, who operated forklifts and lifted heavy objects and therefore were in safety-sensitive jobs.
In a dissent, Justice Matthew McDermott wrote that the majority “ventures into the role of HR director for Casey’s General Stores.” He said there was no grounds to overturn the company’s determination on who to test, saying any impaired employees in a warehouse setting pose risks to themselves and others.