Recently, the New Jersey Appellate Division was asked to decide whether a company's actions were illegal when it fired an employee who suffered from alcoholism after she failed a breathalyzer test.
New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination ("LAD") prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because they are disabled. Recognizing alcoholism as a disability, the Court in this case ruled that it was illegal for the employer to fire this employee because she was an alcoholic.
The Court made clear, on the other hand, that the LAD permits employers to fire employees if their disabilities, such as alcoholism, prevent them from performing their jobs or create a serious health risk. One key factor for the Court in this case was that a manager admitted the company required the random drug testing pursuant to company policy because the employee revealed she is an alcoholic, rather than because of anything relating to her job performance. The Court found no evidence that the employee was unable to perform her job despite her alcoholism.
If you have questions about how this law might affect you, contact the law firm of Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.
THE FOREGOING IS INTENDED TO BE A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY.