Ask the ExpertCategory: QuestionsCan an employer require an employee to complete a rehab program?
hri_Admin Staff asked 1 year ago

An employee has a disability – they have disclosed their addiction. To accommodate them, we are allowing a flexible work schedules and for them to receive treatment. In addition to this, can I state in the accommodation that if they attend work intoxicated they will be sent home and will need to complete a rehab program and provide proof of completion in order to return to work? Can we as the employers require this without paying for the treatment? If we can can we require a treatment for a minimum number of days?  
 
Thank you

1 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 1 year ago

These are tough questions. Let’s break them down one by one. Recognize that this is a very general and broad analysis, one that’s based on limited knowledge of all the facts and circumstances. Also, I want to be clear that this is NOT legal advice, which you should seek if you can. Okay. . .

  1. Requiring employee to come to work sober and agreeing to be sent home if they don’t. 100% Yes, this is perfectly legal for ANY employee. Accommodating disability, in other words, does NOT require you to allow employees to come to work impaired.
  2. Required Rehab: Probably yes. It’s common to include such requirements in last chance disciplinary agreements. However, your arrangement with the voluntary discloser is non-disciplinary. By the same token, you’re not requiring rehab UNLESS he/she shows up to work drunk/high. In that case, I believe you’re on solid legal ground.
  3. Not paying for rehab. I’m a little less comfortable with this one because employers usually do pay the costs of rehab. Whether you’d have to do so as well to accommodate the employee (and, if so, for how long), is almost impossible to determine given that it’s entirely based on the individual facts and circumstances and I have no idea what those facts and circumstances are. The one thing I can say, though, is that there are no blanket rules regarding paying for rehab one way or the other–at least that I’m aware of–Hope all of this helps. Glenn glennd@bongarde.com if you want to contact me directly.