HR Health & Safety FAQ
Is alcoholism a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act?
6. Is alcoholism a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Yes, but that doesnt mean an employer has to put up with an employees drinking. The disease of alcoholism meets the definition of a disability, which means that an employer may not make job decisions based on the fact that an employee is an alcoholic, attends AA meetings, or takes medication to curb the urge to drink. However, an employer may prohibit drinking at work and may generally hold all employees to the same standards of performance and conduct. An employee who cant meet those standards because of drinking may be disciplined and ultimately terminated, even if the employee is an alcoholic. For more information on workplace drug and alcohol rules, see Nolos article Handling Employee Alcohol and Drug Use. For more information on the ADA and disabilities, see Nolos article Reasonable Accommodations for People With Disabilities: The ADA.