On Aug. 5, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued two new publications that aim to clarify existing requirements related to opioid addiction and employment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
ADA Protections for Opioid Users
The first document, titled Use of Codeine, Oxycodone, and Other Opioids: Information for Employees, makes clear that current, illegal drug use is not a covered disability under the ADA. However, it also clarifies that the ADA does protect an individual from disability discrimination if he or she is:
- Lawfully using opioid medication;
- Receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction; or
- In recovery from opioid addiction.
The document also provides information about reasonable accommodations for employees who legally use opioids and guidance for when an employer has concerns about an employee’s ability to safely perform his or her job.
Information for Health Care Providers
The second document, titled How Health Care Providers Can Help Current and Former Patients Who Have Used Opioids Stay Employed, informs health care providers about their patients’ workplace rights under the ADA and aims to help them provide proper documentation to employers when a patient who uses opioids needs a reasonable accommodation in the workplace. It also provides information about how to help employers assess whether, and to what extent, an employee who legally uses opioids would pose a workplace safety risk.