August 06, 2020

Angela Johnson Discusses EEOC Guidance on ADA Protections Related to Opioids

HR Laws reports that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is taking steps to clarify how the Americans with Disabilities Act affects opioid use among employees. The publication spoke with labor and employment associate Angela Johnson regarding this action’s effect on employers and what they can do to prepare.

Johnson explains that the EEOC’s recent guidance includes best practices for healthcare providers as they prepare documentation supporting patient/employee requests for accommodations, and that it may also assist employers in assessing whether an employee’s lawful opioid use might pose a safety risk.

“Physicians and other healthcare professionals are busy, and it is not uncommon that the information employers receive and need to rely on is vague or missing altogether,” Johnson said. “So, indirectly, the guidance for healthcare providers will likely prove useful for employers.”

She also advised employers on how to react when encountering an applicant or employee whose drug test reveals recent opioid use, noting that they should “pause before taking any adverse action until the job applicant or employee has had an opportunity to explain.”

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