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Is drug abuse an ADA disability?

by on
in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. I suspect that an employee is using illegal drugs. Does drug use qualify as a “disability” under the ADA? Do I have to provide the employee with a reasonable accommodation? Or can I terminate his employment?

A.
Casual drug use is not a disability under the ADA. Only individuals who are addicted to drugs, have a history of addiction or who are regarded as being addicted have an impairment under the law.

The ADA also does not protect current drug use. “Current” means that the illegal use of drugs occurred recently enough to justify the employer’s reasonable belief that involvement with drugs is an ongoing problem.

Therefore, if your employee is either a current or casual drug user, then he does not have a disability under the ADA. Thus you can terminate him, without offering reasonable accommodations.

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