If my job is seasonal and I laid off and expected to return in a few weeks, can I then be fired due to it being discovered that I am a recovering drug addict?

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If my job is seasonal and I laid off and expected to return in a few weeks, can I then be fired due to it being discovered that I am a recovering drug addict?

After we closed, my boss found out I was fighting a drug addiction. I never did anything to jeopardize my job, never was wrote up, late or missed a day. I was the manager. My aunt also works there she’s the one who told him. Now I’ve been told he’s not planning on calling me back. Can he legally fire me for that?

Asked on January 14, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

While you can be fired for using drugs at work, or if drug use affects your work performance, you can't be fired merely for having an addiction. If you did not use drugs at work and drugs did not affect how you did your job, but you were in fact fired simply for having a medical condition, addiction, then you may have been the victim of illegal disability-based discrimination. (The law treats addiction as a disability for this purpose.) You therefore may have a legal claim for compensation. You should speak with the federal EEOC or your state civil/equal rights agency to explore this.


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