Can someone with a history of alcohol addiction be fired for having a high B.A.C while at work?

Asked on February 11, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In a situation such as this, the employee was not fired for having an addiction, rather they were fired for their conduct (i.e. being impaired while on the job). And in an "at will" work arrangment, an employer can terminate an employee for this reason, any reason or no reason at all. The fact is that they can set the terms and conditons of employment much as they see fit as long as no form of actionable discrimination is an issue.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they may be fired, because if they are being fired for having a high B.A.C. at work, they are being fired for conduct, not for a disability--i.e. they are being fired for being intoxicated at work or drinking at work, not for simply having  an addiction. Employers may terminate employees for their conduct or behavior, even if that conduct or bahavior flows out of an addiction.

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