The Equal Employment Alternative Fee (EEOC) issued two technical help paperwork this week regarding opioid use by workers and lodging points beneath the Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA). The 2 paperwork aren’t binding and don’t make any adjustments to current legislation. Reasonably, they’re meant to “present readability to the general public relating to current necessities beneath the legislation or company insurance policies.”
The primary doc gives info for workers, and the second doc gives info for healthcare suppliers. Nonetheless, employers can be nicely served to evaluate each paperwork, as they supply an understanding of how employers ought to deal with opioid-related lodging.
Opioids embody prescribed drugs corresponding to codeine, morphine, oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet), and meperidine (Demerol), in addition to unlawful medicine like heroin. Additionally they embody buprenorphine (Suboxone or Subutex) and methadone, which could be prescribed to deal with opioid habit.
The EEOC paperwork make clear that the ADA permits employers to fireplace workers or take different antagonistic employment actions based mostly on unlawful use of opioids, no matter whether or not an worker displays efficiency issues. Nonetheless, if an worker is utilizing opioids legally pursuant to a prescription, together with a prescription for opioid habit, employers could not take antagonistic motion until they first contemplate whether or not the worker can carry out safely and successfully.
Healthcare suppliers could assist decide whether or not opioid use would pose a security danger. Security considerations will solely justify a suspension of duties or different antagonistic motion if the danger rises to the extent of a direct risk, which suggests a major danger of considerable hurt to the worker or others that can not be eradicated or diminished to an appropriate degree with an inexpensive lodging. The EEOC doc for healthcare suppliers states that the suppliers ought to describe related medical occasions or behaviors that might happen on the job, together with the chance that they’ll happen.
If an employer determines that an worker’s authorized use of opioids will intervene with the worker’s secure and efficient job efficiency, the employer ought to present an inexpensive lodging to the worker if attainable, together with probably altering the worker’s work schedule to accommodate remedy, transferring the worker to a different place, or holding the worker’s place open whereas the worker takes go away. Employers should additionally present affordable lodging to workers who’ve recovered from opioid habit however want an lodging to stop relapse, corresponding to time without work to attend a help group assembly.
The EEOC steerage reminds employers that authorized opioid use associated to a incapacity, together with opioid habit, should be accommodated beneath the ADA. Additional, the steerage explains that dedication of a security danger should be based mostly on proof, probably together with info from a healthcare supplier.