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Was He Fired for Addiction – or for Lying About it?

A company hires an employee. Years later, HR learns he lied about being a drug and alcohol addict on his application. Can he be fired for his dishonesty? The answer is yes. After the employee sued the company, claiming disability discrimination, the court ruled in favor of the company. The court said the issue wasn’t whether the employee was a recovering alcohol or drug addict; it was whether the company could believe the employee’s responses on his application were dishonest. The evidence that came out after the employee’s on-the-job injury makes it clear.He had received treatment at a drug and alcohol facility in the mid-90s after a DUI conviction and he also admitted to attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. Despite that, the employee marked “no” on his application form when asked if he had ever been recognized, diagnosed or treated for addiction. Since the company fired him for lying (and not for being a former addict), the termination was legal. Though this firing was upheld, remember this: employees who are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But it’s different when employees are instructed to tell the truth – and they still lie.

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