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specifically permits employers to ensure that the workplace is free from the illegal use of drugs and the use of alcohol, and to comply with other federal laws and regulations regarding drug and alcohol use.
At the same time, the ADA provides limited protection from discrimination for recovering drug abusers and for alcoholics.[A] person who casually used drugs illegally in the past, but did not become addicted is not an individual with a disability based on the past drug use.
In order for a person to be substantially limited because of drug use, s/he must be addicted to the drug.
The definition of current is critical because the ADA only excludes someone from protection when that person is a current user of illegal drugs.
JAN’s Accommodation and Compliance Series is designed to help employers determine effective accommodations and comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
(1) The Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly and designated public sector organizations shall incorporate accessibility criteria and features when procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities, except where it is not practicable to do so.
In her testimony before the Commission, Nancy Delogu, counsel to the Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace, Mark Rothstein, professor of law and director of the Health, Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston, concurred with Ms. employers are having a difficult time making a determination. 1998) (alcoholism is covered under the Rehabilitation Act); Mararri v. 1997) (the ADA treats drug addiction and alcoholism differently).
Delogu, testifying before the Commission that the EEOC should engage in some sort of interpretive statement and, after consulting with experts in the rehabilitation community,could offer guidance that would be very helpful to employers in this area such as stating a particular length of time that an individual must be stable and making progress or require certification of an individual who had a substance abuse problem from some professional that they were making good progress before they would be covered [by the ADA], because . The courts have been reluctant to set out specific time periods, and this is an area that has caused a great deal of concern.
The Accommodation and Compliance Series is a starting point in the accommodation process and may not address every situation.
Accommodations should be made on a case by case basis, considering each employee’s individual limitations and accommodation needs.