Opioids in The Workplace?

Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released new guidelines regarding the rights of opioid users in the workplace under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). While the use of illegal drugs in the workplace remains an unprotected activity, employees who are legally using opioids, are addicted to opioids, or were addicted to opioids in the past (but, are now currently sober) may be entitled to reasonable accommodations under the ADA.  Reasonable accommodations, as explained by the EEOC, may, while not being an exhaustive list, consist of modifying an employee’s schedule to permit treatment and therapy, temporarily transferring the employee to a different position, or allowing the employee to go on unpaid leave. In addition, those employees may be entitled to use sick and other accrued leave and unpaid but job-protected federal Family and Medical Leave Act leave.

So, what does this mean for you as the employer? It means that while an employee’s legal use of opioids does not excuse poor performance, the inability to perform a job’s essential functions, or bad behavior,  employers need to be aware of their conduct and should consult with an attorney prior to providing a reasonable accommodation to and or disqualifying or terminating an individual who legally uses opioids. If you have any question regarding your requirements under the ADA and any potential accommodations you are considering providing, remember to consult with the Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.

The material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500.

The material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500.

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