Ohio Alcohol & Drugs: What you need to know

The Ohio Fair Employment Practice Law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, ancestry, and sex (OH Rev. Code Sec. 4112.01). Although drug addiction and alcoholism can sometimes be classified as a disability, the law states that an employer is entitled to:

  • Prohibit the illegal use of drugs and the use of alcohol in the workplace by employees.
  • Require that employees not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while at work.
  • Hold an employee who engages in the illegal use of drugs or the use of alcohol to the same qualification standards for employment or job performance to which the employer holds other employees, even if any unsatisfactory performance or behavior is related to the employee's alcoholism or illegal use of a controlled substance.
  • Implement a drug-testing program.
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The law does not encourage, prohibit, or authorize testing for the illegal use of any controlled substance by employees or applicants, or making employment decisions based on the results of that type of testing.

The law specifically exempts current drug users from its protection. However, it does protect as disabled individuals who:

  • Have successfully completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program and are no longer illegally using any controlled substance, or have completed other successful rehabilitation and are no longer engaged in that illegal use
  • Have participated in a supervised drug rehabilitation program and are no longer engaged in the illegal use of any controlled substance
  • Are erroneously regarded as engaging in the illegal use of any controlled substance

Courts have also generally treated alcoholism as a disability. This means that employers may be required to ...

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