WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court, addressing the controversy over drug testing in the workplace, today let stand a $485,000 damage award to a computer programmer who was fired for refusing to provide a urine sample.
In a brief order, the justices denied an appeal by the Southern Pacific Transportation Co., which had defended its random, mandatory drug-testing program and asked the high court to overturn the award.
The court declined to review a lower court ruling that the programmer, Barbara Luck, was not in a safety-related job for the railroad company and could not be required to take the drug test.
After her firing for "insubordination" in 1985, Luck sued the company, claiming wrongful termination, breach of good faith and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
A jury awarded her $273,000 in punitive damages, $180,000 in back pay and $32,000 for emotional distress.