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Recovered addict not automatically disabled

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Employees who have successfully dealt with drug addiction but don’t have any current or continuing drug problems are not disabled under the ADA.

Recent case: Andre Abron, who worked for a railroad, was caught with cocaine in his system after a random drug test. His employer gave him time off for treatment from the railroad’s employee assistance program.

Once Abron returned to work, he began complaining that co-workers were harassing him by implying that he was either dealing or using drugs.

He sued, alleging that he was the victim of a disability-based hostile work environment.

The court dismissed his case, reasoning that Abron was not disabled under the ADA because he could offer no evidence he had any current addiction-related problems—his past problems didn’t substantially impair any present major life activities. Thus, he couldn’t claim any hostility at work was based on disability. (Abron v. Soo Line Railroad, No. 08-C-1955, ND IL, 2009)

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