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HR Talk!

ADA: Employers Should Avoid This...

Employers should avoid any type of discrimination if an applicant is in a drug treatment program. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on a disability concerning employment. That includes refusing to hire someone based on an actual disability, a perceived disability, or a record of disability. Refusing to hire someone on the basis of a disability or a perceived disability violates the ADA. Although individuals who are currently using illegal drugs are not covered by the Act … this exclusion does not apply to those who are recovering from drug addiction.

The ADA does not prevent employers from testing applicants or employees for current illegal drug use or from making employment decisions based on verifiable results. However, employers cannot ask job applicants about the use of prescription drugs (and should only ask current employees when “job-related and consistent with business necessity.”)

When an applicant self-identifies as using prescription drugs that would trigger a positive drug test result, the employer can request medical documentation. Under the ADA, an employer cannot take an adverse employment action because an employee is in medication-assisted treatment unless they cannot do the job safely and effectively or another federal law disqualifies them. Additionally, the employer may need to provide a reasonable accommodation if the individual has an underlying disability.


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