The ADA allows an employer to hold an employee with alcoholism to the same qualifications and job performance standards as other employees.Therefore, you may discipline an employee who currently abuses alcohol and doesn’t perform his job effectively.A few months later, the Northern District of Mississippi in dismissed a former employee’s claim that her employer unlawfully terminated her for being at work while under the influence of alcohol.Both cases touch on the competing issues confronting most employers today—the obligation to accommodate disabled alcoholic workers and the right to enforce policies that prohibit alcohol use while at work.
She advises clients on employment issues ranging from hiring practices, preemployment inquiries and testing, and disability/accommodation concerns to disciplinary actions, certificated and classified layoffs, leaves of absence, contract drafting and interpretation, and wage and hour law.
However, the line between having a protected disability and engaging in unprotected misconduct while working can easily become blurred, and employers across all industries likely have struggled over this issue.
The distinction is important because protected alcoholics may be entitled to reasonable accommodations under the ADA and state laws.
Jacqui Takeda represents California school districts and county offices of education in labor relations, general education law matters, and certificated and classified employee dismissal and discipline matters. She also interned with San Diego Unified School District Legal Services handling a variety matters including certificated and classified employee discipline cases, various student issues, facilities issues, and special education issues for attorneys and other district personnel.
While attending law school, she interned with the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) assisting the Legal Advocacy Team with research and providing CCSA members with legal services.