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Have I been discriminated against?

Discussion in 'Discrimination & Sexual Harassment' started by bomatt, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. bomatt

    bomatt Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I recently had a job offer. I went through the whole process. Urine drug screen, hair follicle test, physical and agility test. I’m prescribed methadone as an opiate substitute due to my past with addiction. When I was drug tested, the methadone showed up and I was able verify I was taking the medication legally and under doctor supervision. No problem. Went back in for the physical and agility test and the doctor wouldn’t clear me because of this medication and the “safety sensitive” position. Even though I was able to pass the “agility test.

    Fact is, this medication doesn’t effect my mood, judgement, or physicality in any way. I’ve been on this medication for more than 4 years. I want to work. I qualify for this position entirely and can perform all the necessary duties better than most.

    Do I have a case since addiction is considered a disability? I deserve this job and worked hard for it.

    I’ve passed everything needed. I feel like I’ve been cheated out of a possible life changing employment opportunity because I’m a recovering drug addict.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Although drug addiction often substantially impairs a person’s ability to work, an applicant will not be approved for disability on the basis of the drug addiction. Even though the effects of substance abuse may prevent an individual from maintaining regular employment, Social Security does not consider substance abuse to be disabling until it causes irreversible medical conditions. This does not mean that you cannot win approval for a physical or mental condition that was caused by a drug addiction. The Social Security Administration (SSA) begins all reviews of claims for disability in the same manner, regardless of the alleged impairment or its cause.

    SSDI and SSI Disability Benefits for Drug Addiction


    If you were cheated out of anything, you cheated yourself by CHOOSING to abuse drugs.

    Choices have consequences, which is why one should ALWAYS choose wisely.

    There is no constitutional guarantee to employment.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Discriminated against? Possibly.
    However not all discrimination is illegal.

    Have you asked if an appeal process is available? Sometimes you are allowed, at your own expense, to get a second medical opinion.
     
    bomatt likes this.
  4. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Possibly. Having an addiction can indeed be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If your addiction qualifies as a disability under the ADA then the employer may not discriminate against you because of that disability. While I do not disagree with Army Judge's statements about how SSA looks at addiction for purposes of determining whether you get SSA disability income (SSDI) benefit, your question is not about qualifying for SSDI. The definition of disability under the ADA is far broader than the test SSA uses for SSDI.

    The issue here is whether the employer rejected you just because of the addiction history, or whether the employer rejected you because the position is safety sensitive and the employer had a concern that the methadone (or a failure to take it) might interfere with your ability to do the job safely. The former would be illegal discrimination, the latter generally would not be.

    Assuming that the employer has at least 15 employees, it is covered by the ADA. Some states have their own laws barring discrimination on the basis of disability that apply to even smaller employers.

    Try first to see if there is any appeal in the employer, either to a higher level official, HR, or whatever, to show that you can handle the job safely despite using methadone.

    If that doesn't work, you might want to meet with an attorney who litigates ADA employment cases to see if there is something worth pursuing. Many attorneys will give you a free initial consultation so you don't have much to lose in talking with one or two attorneys to see what they think. Don't wait very long to do it, you may have as little as 180 days from the act of discrimination to file the complaint with the EEOC and 6 months to file a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission for violations of Ohio law. You must file the complaint timely with the EEOC or you lose your right to sue. Ohio might have a similar rule.

    For more information on the ADA and drug addiction, see the discussion of it by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights with the link I provided.
     
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  5. bomatt

    bomatt Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Wow, thanks for your input everyone. I think I’m going to read up a little more on ADA guidelines and possibly get consultations from a few lawyers. Thanks a lot.
     
  6. bomatt

    bomatt Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I do want to say the cause of my addiction wasn’t because I wanted to see what heroin felt like. I was injured and put on opiates for more than a year then taken off them abruptly. Then turned to street drugs. This is the cause of more than 65% of opiate addictions. Just wanted to say that and stick up for myself a bit.
     
  7. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    BULL CRAP..... You made the choice to become a ADDICIT........ The second you started taking the opiates other then prescribed. You made the choice to not talk with your doctor about your body becoming depend on the drug. Your still a ADDICIT.... Methadone is going to be harder to get off then the Heroin you were shooting up. If not.... quite taking it and see. A employer has a right to tell any of us taking pills sorry but we don't need you. Let me know how well coming off the methadone works for you.
     
    army judge likes this.
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    For every negative occurrence I suppose there are at least a dozen excuses.
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Hmmm...

    Most employers know the correct weasel words to use when rejecting people seeking employment.

    Methadone protocol:

    What Is Methadone: Side Effects, Uses, Risks
     
  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Every time I read one of "Disabled Vet's" post, all I can here in my head is the "wah wah wah" that any adult in Charlie Brown cartoons makes.
     
  11. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Let's keep it civil, shall we? I'm talking to everyone.
     
  12. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    OK, so let's assume that drug/alcohol addiction is a disability (would you be eligible for handicapped plates? Might be handy when you come knee-walking drunk out of the bar, you wouldn't have to stagger too far to get to your car). The one thing that is NOT a reasonable accommodation is the employer having to accept you not being able to work to the accepted standards.
     
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  13. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Some do, some don't. I've seen plenty of clueless employers during my career, so without knowing the employer I'd certainly not be willing to place my bet as to which side this one falls. And even if the employer says the right things, it always matters what other evidence is available. I'm not saying these sorts of cases are easy for employees to prove; they typically aren't. But it is certainly possible with the right evidence to win. Therefore I would not rule out that possibility, as some here seem to have done.

    Sorry, but I do not agree with your implication that addiction is always a choice. Medical science says differently. Sure, seeking to get the drugs on the street was a choice, but the addiction was already there before that choice was made. If you study the background to the opiate addiction problem, you'll see that for a lot people with that problem they weren't taking the drugs to get high. They were taking them for real pain relief. Yet even with real pain, you can get addicted to these drugs. The medical community screwed this up 20 years ago when it started pushing using these drugs for all manner of pain based on the twin prongs of faulty science suggesting these drugs did not lead to significant addiction problems and aggressive push by the drug companies that make them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
    hrforme likes this.
  14. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Not all disabilities cause problems that would make it necessary to use disabled parking spots. I know. I have a condition that under the ADA certainly qualifies as a disability. But it is not one that I would need close parking spaces for since it does not impact my mobility in any way. So I do not have disabled parking plates. I don't need them and wouldn't qualify in my state to get them. There are many different kinds of disabilities, most of which are actually not readily visible to others. We need to get past the old idea that disabilities are just those things that are easy to see, like a missing limb, or using a wheel chair, white cane, or hearing aid.

    That statement is, of course, correct. With or without an accommodation, the employer may always fire an employee for failure to meet the requirements of the job.
     
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  15. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Hence the use of the "weasel" word MOST, rather than the word ALL.
     
  16. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    I guess my point is that I'm not willing to even say "most" are knowledgeable enough to get it right. I think most of the larger firms likely do, since they are more likely to regularly consult lawyers on various aspects of their business, like employment law. But when it comes to smaller firms, most might not be be that savvy. My experience with small business clients is that they often are not all that aware of things like what the ADA actually requires of them. They unfortunately tend to only seek out lawyers only AFTER they get into trouble rather than getting advice early to prevent problems in the first place. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    I didn't say that.... I said.... Becoming a Addicit is a choice. Which it is 100%. This person made the choice to do herion. Yes i fully agree that a person body can become develop a drug dependence. It's the nature of the beast for sure. People know that taking pain meds this can happen. It's the CHOICE they make to start using heroine or other drugs. Instead of fighting the drug withdrawls. My post was that a person has a choice to become a addicit. They will either fight the withdrawls or surrender to harder drugs. Fully KNOWING the end result. There is a big difference from being drug dependent and becoming a drug addicit.
     
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  18. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I never suggested you said anything.

    You are the one who appointed yourself as my critic.

    You are free to say or type anything you choose to say or type.

    What most people fail to comprehend is that no one using this forum is a student or apprentice under another's tutelage.

    I find it better to use the like option if I agree with someone.

    If I dislike a post or disagree with a person's words, I giggle silently or guffaw loudly, as long as forum rules weren't violated.

    I don't criticize the content of the posts I read.

    I choose to address the issue.

    These days many parents are unable to correct their children, so it is a waste of my time to argue with another adult.

    Adults rarely change beliefs they hold.

    I've learned that arguments and debates are futile.
     
  19. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    That was certainly not my intent. I was simply relaying my experience with this, not trying to be anyone's critic. I'm sorry that it came across otherwise.
     
  20. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    You mention the doctor wouldn't pass you on the physical, not that the hiring manager found out you are an addict and rejected you. Methadone is an opioid and depending upon the job, being on any opioid can be a disqualifier; that goes double for certain safety specific positions in highly regulated industries. Methadone does have side effects and those side effects can be a bar to holding certain safety sensitive positions as well. In some cases there is a waiver (such as with certain classes of CDL), but not all.

    You will have a more difficult time making a case for disability discrimination when the doctor is saying you can't safely perform the job.
     
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