Federal contractors and workers can now reference valuable resources on OFCCP’s new page focused on topics related to past drug misuse. People who have misused drugs in the past could be considered qualified individuals with disabilities (IWD) per Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Generally speaking, individuals may qualify for as a protected class if they used drugs illegally, no longer partake in the misuse, and are in a supervised rehabilitation program or have successfully completed a rehab program.
Substance abuse in the United States has become a major concern over the last few years. With this new page, OFCCP hopes to give federal contractors a better understanding of their obligations under Section 503 and insight into complying with these requirements. For example:
- Offering employees time off for medical treatment
- Encouraging attendance to counseling or treatment with a modified work schedule
- Creating assistance programs and training opportunities for employees
- Giving employees health and wellness initiatives
Additionally, the drug misuse resources gives applicants and current employees details on their rights and available options. Many substance abuse disorders are considered chronic medical conditions, giving individuals an avenue for protection when it comes to discrimination.
It is important to keep in mind that an individual must no longer be misusing drugs or using illegal substances to qualify; plus, they need to be in a rehab program or have already completed a program. If these qualifications are being satisfied, an IWD cannot be fired, demoted, docked pay, or denied employment due to his/her condition.