The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) offers guidelines for employers on compliance with alcohol- and drug-related disabilities. Employers are allowed to prohibit the use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace, but there are some circumstances in which related issues constitute a protected disability. In this article, Affleck And Gardon will explain how a worker’s alcohol and drug use can help them attain disability protection.
When is a Worker’s Alcohol or Drug Use a Disability?
Employers cannot discriminate against applicants or workers who are in a drug rehab program, as long as that person is not currently using drugs. In cases where a worker uses alcohol, they may not be discriminated against as long as their use does not pose a threat to the company or their coworkers, and it does not interfere with their job duties.
To gain protected status, Disability Lawyers in Atlanta must do more than prove that a worker is in a rehabilitation program. An employer may also ask for reassurance that the worker is not using illegal drugs, and they may institute a drug testing policy that complies with state privacy and testing laws. All information relevant to a worker’s participation in a treatment program must be treated confidentially.
What Employers can do if a Worker has a Suspected Alcohol or Drug Problem
In the event of drug use, whether it happens after rehab or it is newly discovered, an employer can take disciplinary actions, including termination. According to the ADA, if an employer suspects alcoholism, they should:
* Tell the employee about counseling services
* Give them a choice
* Provide the chance for inpatient rehab if outpatient treatment doesn’t work
Unless special circumstances exist, the worker may be terminated if a relapse occurs.
Disability Cannot Prevent all Terminations
Alcohol and drug related disability does not keep an employee currently on illegal drugs from being fired, nor does it protect one whose alcohol use affects their job performance. An employer has the right to deny a job to or terminate such individuals without facing a discrimination suit.
Do I Require a Lawyer’s Help with Alcohol and/or Drug Disability Matters?
Like most other discrimination laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act is complex -; and in many cases, state laws go beyond what is included in the ADA. Disability Lawyers in Atlanta can help you understand your state’s laws, and they can help employers develop a solid compliance program.