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Alcoholism May Be A Disability

(Credit: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

(Credit: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - An Oregon police officer, fired after crashing his unmarked patrol car into a ditch while drunk, has said he is sorry and will make amends. Just kidding, he sued the city of Portland last month for disability discrimination, claiming that his alcoholism is a disability and that his termination violated the right to have his disability accommodated.

Did I mention he leads firearms training?

What may be even scarier to some employers is that he’s partially right about the law. A history of alcoholism is, in fact, a disability and not only can’t employers fire an employee because of his alcoholism, it must reasonably accommodate his disability.
It would be considered a reasonable accommodation under the law to allow an employee, where possible, to attend Alcoholics’ Anonymous meetings or to take time off for treatment if it wouldn’t be unduly burdensome for the employer.

The law does not require that employers accommodate an employee to drink on the job, or to drive drunk with or without a siren on top of the car.

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