Can I be fired because I went to drug rehab?

After I failed a drug test I was not fired but sent to outpatient drug rehab. I stopped using drugs and maintained my job at the same time I went through rehab. All my drug tests were negative and I passed the drug rehab program. Then I was called into the office, and my supervisor said I was a hazard and I had a choice to resign or get fired. I have lost my job, income, insurance, without any warning. I thought they were there to help me. Are there any legal actions I can take or do I just do nothing? Thanks.

 Posted 07-13-2011

Ann Kiernan replies:

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a recovering or recovered addict who is not currently using illegal drugs and who has completed or is currently participating in a drug rehabilitation program is protected from discrimination because of his disability, record of a disability or because an employer regards him as disabled.

Just a few months ago, the EEOC brought a case on behalf of a man who was receiving methadone as part of a clinically supervised chemical dependency treatment program. He had been offered a laborer’s job, but the company then rescinded the job offer, claiming that he was a safety risk. The company settled by paying the man $85,000 and hiring him for the laborer’s job.

You should consult a local employment law attorney for more information about your rights and how to protect them. If you do not know such a lawyer, you may want to search your state’s listings awat the National Employment Lawyers Association, www.nela.org, or to contact your local bar association for a referral. Good luck.

 

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.

2015-06-08T23:41:39+00:00

About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.