EEOC Issues Guidance on Accommodation of Employee Opioid Addiction

CDF partner Nicole Legrottaglie authored the article "EEOC Issues Guidance on Accommodation of Employee Opioid Addiction," for the Daily Journal Corporation on August 26, 2020.  In this article, Nicole provides guidance for employers.


"As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its sixth month, Americans continue to struggle with its devastating impact. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 175,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.  Those who have recovered or who have been fortunate enough to avoid contracting this deadly virus are still left to grapple with the economic and emotional implications of this pandemic.  It has been reported that over 57 million workers have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment.  A fear of what the future holds, combined with feelings of isolation and loneliness as a result of social distancing, have put those struggling with addiction at risk for relapse.  This poses unique challenges for employers.    

On August 5, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a pair of new technical assistance guidance documents to address concerns about the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the opioid epidemic.  Opioids include prescription drugs such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet), and meperidine (Demerol), as well as illegal drugs like heroin. 

The EEOC states that this guidance does not set forth new policy but rather is intended to provide clarity regarding existing principles already established in the ADA’s statutory and regulatory provisions as well as previously issued guidance."

Click here to read the guidance for employers. 

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