Avoiding Discrimination for Employees in Drug Rehab


Avoiding Discrimination for Employees in Drug Rehab

Is there any area the drug crisis hasn’t touched?

Urban and rural—the fight against addiction is a ferocious one. It will grab any victim it can find.

Addiction hasn’t skipped the workplace, either. Statistics from last summer say failed drug tests were hitting a record high. What’s influencing those stats? Some say it may be changing marijuana laws, but that’s not the only factor. Those same statistics showed that workers typically fail due to marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine use.

How can employers keep the workplace safe? Knowing workplace drug laws always helps. One example? Understanding how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) views discrimination when it comes to employees in drug rehab.

Understanding the law

Employees currently using illegal drugs, prescription or otherwise, are not protected as a “qualified individual” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

So, who is protected? Employees who have successfully completed drug rehab OR who are no longer using drugs and currently participating in a rehab program. The ADA doesn’t get very specific on programs, either. Programs can be in-patient, out-patient, an employee-assistance program, or a recognized self-help program.

Following the law

The EEOC, charged with enforcing the ADA, has filed lawsuits against employers they believe may have discriminated. In one case, employers refused to hire an candidate because of a failed drug test. But the EEOC found the candidate failed because he was being treated by a rehab clinic.

Keep updated policy that follows current law and includes “clear exclusions” for those being treated for addiction, say experts. Consider each case individually; determine whether that lawful prescription use poses any safety issues and decide if that person can do the job with or without reasonable accommodations.

Understanding more about screening and hiring issues like these makes a difference. Want an expert like ClearStar on your side? Call us today!


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