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ADA & Alcoholics and Drug Addicts

Confused about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to alcoholics and former drug addicts? In short, the ADA treats these employees as disabled individuals. As a result, you may not discriminate against them and may have to provide them with accommodations. However, the law does not require that you apply different performance standards to these individuals or tolerate work rule violations.

Past drug addicts also are protected under the ADA and may not be discriminated against as long as they are not currently using drugs illegally and are either receiving treatment or have been rehabilitated successfully. Employees and applicants who "currently are engaging in the illegal use of drugs" are not protected under the ADA, and you may terminate or not hire such people based on their current drug use.


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