If your employer gets the impression that you have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, you may be at serious risk of being fired or having other disciplinary action taken against you. In that situation, you should know your rights. Federal and Massachusetts anti-discrimination statutes protect employees from discrimination on the basis of disability. The definition of disability can include addiction to alcohol or drugs. In other words, employees who are addicted to alcohol or drugs can be protected from discrimination based on their addiction. Moreover, you are entitled to this protection even if the employer’s perception is false, and you are not actually addicted.
A recent Massachusetts federal court decision in Izzo v. Genesco, Inc., Civil Action No. 14-cv-13607-ADB (Burroughs, J.) (March 22, 2016), has clarified an important difference between the federal and Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws with respect to perceived substance abuse problems. Massachusetts still uses an old standard requiring an employee to prove that the employer regarded the employee’s disability as one that “substantially limited a major life activity.” This standard can be difficult to meet even when the discrimination was clear. However, the federal statute has been amended and now allows an employee to prove discrimination based on disability whether or not the employer believed the disability “limited a major life activity.”
If you need a Worcester, Massachusetts based employment lawyer for a situation involving discrimination on the basis of an alleged substance abuse problem Murphy & Rudolf, LLP will fight for you and your rights. The firm of Murphy & Rudolf LLP represents employees who have been subjected to discrimination by their employers. If you are in need of a Worcester employment lawyer, please contact the law firm of Murphy & Rudolf LLP today.