Cases & Deals

U.S. Steel obtains dismissal in EEOC's challenge to their alcohol testing program

Client(s) U.S. Steel Corporation

Jones Day represented U.S. Steel Corporation in this matter where the EEOC challenged U.S. Steel's random, suspicionless alcohol testing program for probationary coke plant employees, relying on its internal guidance to claim that such testing may only be performed with individualized, reasonable suspicion. On February 20, 2013, the district court rejected the EEOC's guidance and found that employers may conduct random, periodic alcohol testing without individualized suspicion so long as it is job-related and consistent with business necessity. Further, the court found that U.S. Steel's testing program satisfied this standard, citing the significant safety concerns in the work environment (including superheated materials, toxic byproducts, and industrial machinery), and concluded that U.S. Steel reasonably decided to randomly test probationary employees only, as those employees are less adept at their jobs, and more likely to engage in risky behavior than seasoned employees. This decision both approved of random alcohol testing in general and as performed by U.S. Steel in particular, and dealt a blow to the EEOC's ability to limit such testing through its own guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United States Steel Corp., No. 2:10-cv-1284 (W.D. Pa.)