ADA compliance is based off of compliance by both parties.

by on December 15, 2008 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

ADA Guidelines: He wouldn’t seek alcohol treatment, so his termination was legal

That otherwise valued employee has taken one too many drinks one too many times, and his work is suffering.

Can you demand that he undergo alcohol rehabilitation as a condition of continued employment under ADA guidelines?

If the problem is handled right, a company can demand he undergo alcohol rehabilitation as a condition of continued employment; without illegally regarding him as a person with disabilities.

A recent ADA lawsuit in Nebraska points up the right way to handle such a person.
The employee, a military veteran, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and had a drinking problem. After an incident in which he got drunk, shot farm animals, threatened his wife and was arrested, his employer got him to agree to be evaluated for substance abuse under ADA guidelines.

A mental health professional recommended inpatient alcohol treatment, but he balked. After a series of warnings, the employer fired him for refusing the recommended treatment. The employee filed an ADA lawsuit, claiming the employer illegally regarded him as having a disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Nonsense, the court said. The employer’s insistence that he complete treatment wasn’t based on a misconception or a stereotype about a possible drinking problem. It was based on a professional therapist’s recommendation, and was legal.

ADA Guidelines For Managers
Base policies and practices involving employee substance abuse on professional medical advice.

Kosizek v. Seward County, No. 07-3682, 8th Cir., 8/27/08.
Newsletter 7.5 DOP 09-29-2008

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