Legions of American workers spanning the country and in wide-ranging occupational work spheres spend time worrying about their retained positions and continued employment.
Some dread the prospect of a deficient performance report. Others fear that their bosses will frown upon their expressed dissatisfaction with select company practices and policies.
Workers sometimes fear blowback, too, for time-off requests they have made during particularly busy times. Some employees feel they have a proverbial bull’s-eye on their backs for simply being a particular gender, a member of an underrepresented race in the workplace or for another prominently identifiable trait or characteristic.
And some fear this: management’s reprisal for known opioid use.
Concededly, some people might think almost immediately that company principals have a slam-dunk case for instant termination of an employee who has an acknowledged history of opioid use. And that might seem especially apparent in the case of a worker employed in an area where high security and a heightened focus on safety are unremitting and paramount concerns.
It’s not so simple, as noted in a recent document published by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that sets forth guidance and a summary of existing law relevant to opioid use and employment. The EEOC underscores that business managers cannot simply fire every worker with a demonstrated history of past – and even ongoing – drug use.
In fact, such workers often have workplace protections that help ensure their continued employment, provided that they are not currently taking illegal drugs and can be reasonably accommodated at the workplace.
We will delve into that further in an upcoming blog post.