The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed that an employer may discharge a driver sales representative who suffers from alcoholism for violating a return to work agreement (RWA) that prohibits the use of drugs or alcohol in Ostrowski v. Con-way Freight, Inc., No. 12-3800, 2013 WL 5814131 (3d Cir. Oct. 30, 2013). This alert analyzes the court’s holding and compares the outcome with that of A.D.P. v. ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Co.,428 N.J. Super. 518 (App. Div. 2012), a recent decision in which the New Jersey Appellate Division found a similar RWA facially discriminatory under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.

 

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Photo of Allison Martin Allison Martin

Allison Martin is a senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department. Allison represents employers in a wide range of employment litigation matters, including employment discrimination and harassment lawsuits arising under Title VII and similar state and local statutes, retaliation claims, and…

Allison Martin is a senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department. Allison represents employers in a wide range of employment litigation matters, including employment discrimination and harassment lawsuits arising under Title VII and similar state and local statutes, retaliation claims, and wage-and-hour claims. She represents employers in federal and state courts, arbitration tribunals, and before the EEOC and the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Allison has extensive experience litigating both single plaintiff and class action lawsuits.

Allison also counsels clients on a broad range of employment law matters, including investigations, employment policies and procedures, and employee terminations and discipline. She also has experience conducting high-profile internal investigations on behalf of employers.

Allison previously served as a federal law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

At Seton Hall University School of Law, Allison was an Articles Editor for the Seton Hall Law Review. Allison also  interned for Chief Judge Garrett E. Brown (Ret.) of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey while in law school.

Photo of Joseph O’Keefe Joseph O’Keefe

Joseph C. O’Keefe is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and Co-Head of the Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Group.

Joe is an experienced trial lawyer who, for more than 30 years, has litigated employment disputes of all…

Joseph C. O’Keefe is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and Co-Head of the Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Group.

Joe is an experienced trial lawyer who, for more than 30 years, has litigated employment disputes of all types on behalf of employers, before federal and state courts, arbitral tribunals (e.g. FINRA and AAA), and state and federal administrative agencies throughout the U.S. Joe has litigated employment-related lawsuits alleging breach of non-compete agreements, theft of trade secrets, discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblowing, wage and hour violations, Title IX violations, breach of contract, defamation, fraud and other business related torts. Joe’s practice includes representing clients in complex class and collective litigation, including alleged violation of state and federal pay equity laws, violations of wage and hour laws and discrimination claims. Joe’s experience includes appellate work in both federal and state courts.

In addition to his extensive litigation practice, Joe regularly advises employers, writes and speaks on a wide range of employment related issues. He counsels clients concerning pay equity, use of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace, management of personnel problems, ADA/FMLA compliance, reductions in force, investigation of employee complaints, state and federal leave laws, wage and hour issues, employment policies and contracts.

Joe represents employers in a variety of industries including financial services, higher education (colleges and universities), pharmaceuticals/medical devices, health care, technology, communications, fashion, consumer products, publishing, media and real estate. He frequently writes articles concerning developments in the law and speaks at seminars concerning legal developments in the labor and employment law field.