Alcoholism in workplaces presents many legal and human resource management issues.
Correctly navigating federal and state discrimination and leave laws is crucial not only for helping avoid litigation but also for ensuring a safe environment for all employees.
These issues and the The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence defines alcoholism as: “a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychological, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortion in thinking, most notably denial.” According to the Council, 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence.
Protections Under the ADA Individuals suffering from alcoholism are protected under the ADA if they can perform their job duties safely and effectively.
Or grant him leave to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or participate in inpatient treatment?
What about a schedule adjustment to allow a former drug addict to stop at the methadone clinic on the way to work?
Substance abuse by employees — it’s one of the most difficult issues an employer can face.
That said, courts have consistently held that employers can have legitimate work rules that prohibit alcohol use in the workforce.
If you don’t have to tolerate intoxication at work, what accommodations are reasonable for alcoholism?
Do you have to put up with an employee who stumbles into work late and disheveled as a result of last night’s bender?
Two recent federal district court decisions address both issues.
In , an Ohio district court considered a plaintiff’s claim that the employer unlawfully terminated the employee upon his return to work from a medical leave for alcohol rehabilitation.