The NYTA refused to employ persons who use methadone.
Methadone is used to cure people of heroin addiction.
Most patients in methadone clinics are drug free after a year; however, the incidence of drug or alcohol abuse for those one year in may approach 25%.
Ps filed suit in federal court to overturn the regulation that prohibited the employment of methadone users.
Trial court found the regulation unconstitutional.
SCOTUS, reversed, NYTA regulation against methadone users constitutional.
Does the NYTA's prohibition against the hiring of methadone users violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment?
The NYTA's prohibition against the hiring of methadone users does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment.
NYTA's rule places a meaningful restriction on all its employees and job applicants; in that sense, the rule is one of general applicability and satisfies the equal protection principle.
There are relevant differences between persons using methadone and persons who use no narcotics of any kind.
The no drugs policy enforced by the NYTA is supported by the legitimate inference that as long as a treatment program continues, a degree of uncertainty persists.
Accordingly, an employment policy that postpones eligibility until the treatment program has been completed, rather than accepting an intermediate point on an uncertain line, is rational.
It is neither unprincipled nor invidious in the sense that it implies disrespect for the excluded subclass.
NYTA did prove that 20%-30% of the class are assuredly not employable; it is the job of the challengers of the law to prove the offending 30% could be excluded as cheaply and effectively in the absence of the rule.
Although it might be overbroad, the special classification serves the general objectives of safety and efficiency.
The line challenged is not one which is directed against any individual or category of persons, but rather it represents a policy choice.
NYTA could use their normal employee-screening mechanisms to separate the successfully maintained users from the unsuccessful.
Those who have passed the program are as employable as non-users and present no more risk.
That 20-30% are unsuccessful after one year in a methadone program tells us nothing about the employability of the successful group, and that is the group being discriminated against.