Can a supervisor tell you that you need to stop taking a prescribed medication?

In my most recent position I was taking a prescribed medication that has drowsiness as a side effect. I had been on this medicine for over a year and my boss knew that drowsiness was a side effect, but it only effected my work once. One day the drowsiness was particularly bad, so I was dismissed from work. I just needed to get a note from my doctor explaining it was a side effect, including suggestions on how to help the side effect. The note was provided and there were no problems with going back to work. However, when I returned 2 of my supervisors told me I should stop taking my medicine.

Asked on December 14, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the medication is affecting your work--for example, being drowsy affects either your output or your quality of work, or, potentially, safety (e.g. if you operate equipment, drive, etc. for work)--then your supervisors are entiled to tell you that unless you correct the situation--that is, unless you are no longer drowsy at work--they will terminate you. So in that regard, they are not necessarily telling you to stop taking the medicine; they are letting you know that coming to work drowsy for any reason is not acceptable. If you choose to not heed their advice, they may terminate you--not for the medication per se, but for being drowsy, with impaired performance, at work.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.