Substance Abuse in the Workplace: ADA and FMLA Issues to Consider, Part II

February 01, 2012
Handling problems of substance use and abuse at work are some of the most challenging issues confronting employers. Not only does the law impose on employers the obligation to provide a safe, healthy and product work environment to employees, but it also requires that employers accommodate the needs of substance abusing employees, often the very same individuals who may be causing the health and safety problems. Understanding what laws apply in this area and the contours of an employer’s legal obligations will go a long way to mitigating legal risk when handling substance abuse problems. Part I of this article addressed the legal landscape, discussing the ADA and FMLA in the context of substance abuse and setting forth an employer’s rights to conduct workplace testing to discover which applicants and individuals may be abusing drugs and alcohol. This part discusses how best to manage employees with addiction issues and sets forth some basic steps every employer should implement to proactively deal with and minimize the problems associated with substance abuse at work.