Title I: - Relating to Employment and Drugs and Alcohol Use
What does the ADA say with respect to drug and alcohol use?
The ADA specifically permits employers to ensure that the workplace is free from the illegal use of drugs and the use alcohol, and to comply with other Federal laws and regulations regarding alcohol and drug use. At the same time, the ADA provides limited protection from discrimination for recovering drug addicts and for alcoholics.
- An individual who is currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs is not an "individual with a disability" when the employer acts on the basis of such use.
- An employer may prohibit the illegal use of drugs and the use of alcohol at the workplace.
- It is not a violation of the ADA for an employer to give tests for the illegal use of drugs.
- An employer may discharge or deny employment to persons who currently engage in the illegal use of drugs.
- An employer may not discriminate against a drug addict who is not currently using drugs and who has been rehabilitated, because of a history of drug addiction.
- A person who is an alcoholic is an "individual with a disability" under the ADA.
- An employer may discipline, discharge, or deny employment to an alcoholic whose use of alcohol impairs job performance or conduct to the extent that she/he is not a "qualified individual with a disability."
- Employees who use drugs or alcohol may be required to meet the same standards of performance and conduct that are set for other employees.
- Employees may be required to follow the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and rules set by Federal agencies pertaining to drug and alcohol use in the workplace.
What does the "illegal" and "current" use of drugs mean?
- The illegal use of drugs includes the use, possession, or distribution of drugs which are unlawful under the Controlled Substances Act. It includes the use of illegal drugs and the illegal use of prescription drugs that are "controlled substances."
- The illegal use of drugs does not include drugs taken under supervision of a licensed health care professional, including experimental drugs for people with AIDS, epilepsy, or mental illness.
- An individual who illegally uses drugs but also has a disability, such as epilepsy, is only protected by the ADA from discrimination on the basis of the disability (epilepsy). An employer can discharge or deny employment to such an individual on the basis of the disability (epilepsy). An employer can discharge or deny employment to such a individual on the basis of his/her illegal use of drugs.
- If an individual tests positive on a test for the illegal use of drugs, the individual will be considered a current drug user under the ADA where the test correctly indicates that the individual is engaging in the illegal use of a controlled substance.
- "Current" drug use means that illegal use of drugs occurred recently enough to justify a employer's reasonable belief that involvement with drugs is an on-going problem. It is not limited to the day of use, or recent weeks or days, in terms of an employment action. It is determined on a case-by-case basis.