May 24 Tip of the Week

Do you have employees who use prescribed opioid medications to treat an injury or illness?  If you do, you might be wondering what obligations you have to accommodate employees who might be under the influence of opioids while conducting work or while on your company’s premises.  Recently, the EEOC published some new guidance for employers that clarifies when an employee who is taking opioids must be accommodated, what accommodations are available, and what an employer can do if it thinks that allowing opioid use could pose a danger to the employee or others.  Specifically, the EEOC states that applicants and employees who are using opioids, are addicted to opioids, or were addicted to opioids in the past, but are not presently using drugs illegally, may be eligible for workplace accommodations that would help them keep their jobs.  This puts employees lawfully using opioids squarely within the purview of the Americans with Disabilities Act and would require that most employers undergo the interactive process to determine whether the company can continue allowing the employee to use lawfully prescribed opioid medications.  If you have questions about this complex topic, please reach out to our attorneys for assistance.  See the EEOC’s full document here.