Is Alcoholism a Disability Under Federal Law?

Alcoholism a Disability

The question: Is alcoholism a disability under federal law? For some, the answer might surprise you. Although alcoholism has many symptoms, it generally falls under the definition of a disability. If an alcoholic is diagnosed with alcoholism, they may be entitled to disability benefits under the ADA. But if the alcoholism has been a secret to friends and family, they may not qualify.

In addition to that, the FMLA protects eligible employees from being fired for attending alcohol rehabilitation programs. Generally, the FMLA gives employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a serious health condition. Using the FMLA to prevent an alcoholic employee from working would be a violation of the ADA. This means employers should be careful to avoid the claim of protected alcoholism.

Employers must make reasonable accommodations for alcoholic employees, based on the American with Disabilities Act. In California, an alcoholic’s treatment also falls under the state’s discrimination and leave laws. California, on the other hand, goes further to protect alcoholics in recovery. Its laws on ADA and disability discrimination may also apply to alcoholics. In such situations, employers must provide reasonable accommodations and leave time for an alcoholic who is receiving treatment.

disability harassment

While the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t list every possible disability discrimination, it recognizes alcoholism as a disability under federal law. This means employers can’t discriminate against alcoholics. As long as an employer is willing to provide the treatment and rehabilitation required for the alcoholic, they are protected under ADA. However, if the employee is actively abusing alcohol, they are not protected.

Is Alcoholism a Disability Under Federal Law?

In addition to requesting reasonable accommodations, employees with an alcoholism diagnosis should also contact their employer and discuss options with him or her. Employers may relax the rules if the employee can show that he or she is in treatment and the employer is willing to make accommodations. Other reasonable accommodations may include modified work schedules, a paid or unpaid leave for counseling, or even a leave of absence, depending on the limitations caused by the alcoholism.

Alcoholism may qualify for disability benefits if a person has a long-term or terminal alcoholism or a substance addiction. This condition requires that an employee not drink alcohol regularly while working, but that alcohol use is a substantial contributor to his or her disability. If a doctor determines that alcohol use has contributed to the impairment, he or she may qualify for disability benefits. In general, if the impairment is severe enough to interfere with an employee’s ability to work, then alcoholism and alcohol abuse are both considered disabilities under ADA.

To qualify for disability benefits under federal law, a person must have a serious underlying illness, such as a substance use disorder, which makes it difficult to perform at work. Those with alcoholism will have to show that their liver disease causes the employee to suffer from severe symptoms. Some of these symptoms include fluid accumulation in the lung cavity, peritonitis, or even hepatic encephalopathy. Other conditions that are associated with alcoholism include liver failure and brain dysfunction.

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