EEOC Addresses Opioid Addiction And Employment

Volume: 19 | Issue: 47
August 6, 2020

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released two new technical assistance documents to help employees and health care providers navigate the issue of opioid addiction and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers may also find them useful.

In “Use and Misuse of Codeine, Oxycodone, and Other Opioids: Information for Employees,” the EEOC explains that current illegal drug use is not a covered disability, but clarifies that individuals who are lawfully using opioid medication, are in treatment for opioid addiction and are receiving Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), or have recovered from their addiction, are protected from disability discrimination. The EEOC also answers questions about reasonable accommodations that may be available to employees who currently legally use opioids, as well as what to do if an employer has concerns about the employee’s ability to safely perform his or her job.

In “How Health Care Providers Can Help Current and Former Patients Who Have Used or Misused Opioids Stay Employed,” the EEOC informs health care providers about their patients’ legal rights in the workplace. In addition to describing the coverage limits under the ADA, the document provides guidance to health care workers seeking to provide documentation of covered disabilities on behalf of their patients.

KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.

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