Excerpted from a blog by Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete LLP

An easy-to-read guide that works for all employees using legal meds.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued new guidance documents on the rights of employees who are legally using opioids, and for their health care providers.

Although aimed at employees and health care providers, the documents provide a nice road map for employers who have employees using any type of over-the-counter or prescription medication legally.

Because the same principles apply to all use of legal drugs, I’m going to replace “opioids” with “legal drugs” in this summary of the EEOC’s guidance.

Principle 1: If an applicant or employee is using drugs illegally, then under federal law the employer can reject or terminate the individual based on that reason alone.

Principle 2: An individual is not automatically disqualified from employment because he or she is taking legal medications that might affect his or her ability to “safely or effectively” perform the job.

Principle 3: An individual is not automatically disqualified from employment because he or she is currently using legal drugs (such as methadone) as part of a rehabilitation process.

Principle 4: If a drug test result comes back positive for opioids or other legal derivatives of illegal drugs, then the employer should request an explanation before taking action against the individual. Better yet, the Medical Review Officer or laboratory should request that information before the drug test takes place.

Principle 5: There will be times when even a legal drug can interfere with an individual’s safe or effective performance of the job. If the drug is legal, then the employer should consider reasonable accommodation.

You can read the full story here.

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