April 26, 2022

Angela Johnson Talks to SHRM About the ADA’s Protection of Workers With OUD

Faegre Drinker labor and employment associate Angela Johnson was quoted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in an article that examined the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) protection of workers with opioid use disorder (OUD) who are in treatment or recovery.

“The DOJ was careful to note that employees are not protected from disciplinary action that’s taken because of illegal drug use,” said Johnson when addressing the criteria of the ADA.

For example, if an employee violates a uniformly enforced workplace policy by reporting to work impaired by the unlawful use of opioids, termination is likely defensible, Johnson explained. She added that “illegal use” could mean the opioids were not prescribed to the employee, or the employee’s use exceeded the prescribed amount.

“The latter can be difficult for employers to prove, and employment counsel can assist employers in navigating around legal risks,” stated Johnson.

The full article is available for SHRM subscribers.

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