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Alcoholism a disease under the ADA, man claims labor violations

Can drinking on the job lead to a wrongful termination? In Kansas, if an employee is consuming alcohol during the employee's shift, the employee may be subject to discipline or even termination under policies that they signed. In a non-traditional situation, an employee who was consuming alcohol during work hours may have a cause of action against his or her employer for disability discrimination due to the disease of alcoholism.

A city employee who worked outside of Missouri worked as a snow plow operator and had agreed to pick up a voluntary shift. While the employee was working the voluntary shift, he allegedly had consumed alcohol. When the employer concluded that the employee had consumed the alcohol during his shift, he was sent home and subsequently terminated.

The employee has filed a lawsuit against the employer for his termination. The employee claims the employer should have considered his alcoholism as a disability, which is recognized as such under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and therefore the employer discriminated against the employee for a recognized disability. In the employee's lawsuit, he is seeking compensatory damages and full back pay for the wages he lost.

Workplace discrimination against an employee can involve a wide variety of circumstances. Since employee discrimination can encompass a wide spectrum of scenarios, the crux of an employee discrimination claim stems from an employee who is discriminated against for a protected association or reason. The protected associations or reason is typically defined by either state or federal laws. Employees who feel a sense of discrimination while at their place of employment may have a potential lawsuit against his or her employer for the discrimination the employee has endured.

Source:, "Former Lakewood employee files discrimination lawsuit; hearing set Jan. 11," Ed Carroll, Jan. 3, 2013

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