|- Drug-Free Workplace Advisor|
ADA & Rehabilitation Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination against employees and applicants with disabilities in organizations that employ 15 or more employees. The term "disability" means an individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his/her major life activities or there is a record of such an impairment or an individual is regarded as having such an impairment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversees application of the ADA. Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 also prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities by contractors and subcontractors with the Federal government. The requirements regarding drug and alcohol use under the two laws are identical.
The ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 affect drug and alcohol policies. Individuals currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are not "individuals with a disability" when the employer acts on the basis of such use. "Currently" 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."
The following is a brief outline of aspects of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that are related to employees who have problems with drugs and alcohol:
The Job Accommodation Network, a free service of DOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy, provides accommodation ideas and fact sheets for Drug Addiction and Alcoholism and also offers a Video that addresses legal issues related to the ADA and substance abuse in the workplace.