ADA & relapse - not eligible for FMLA

We have an associate who sought in-patient treatment for alcoholism this summer and was out for almost a month. She isn't eligible for FMLA and is out of PTO time.

We explained in writing that we would okay the leave but expected good attendance in the future since it had been an issue and one she was written up for prior to her in-patient stay.

She returned from her treatment and have accomodated her request on a temporary basis to return to a different role. Again all documented with next steps.

Things were going fine until she suffers a relapse last week for which she is hospitalized. She misses 6 days of work.

Our next step is to proceed to a written warning for attendance. The only thing stopping us from doing this is whether there are factors under the ADA that we have to take into consideration.

In addition to alcoholism, she is being treated for a nervous condition.


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  • I remember from a seminar once that ADA only comes into play when an employee is a "Recovering Alcoholic". Once they go off the wagon they are not "Recovering" and no long fall under ADA protection. I was given this web site [url][/url]. I found it very useful. Good Luck.
  • When you say "relapse" and was hospitalized I question the reason for the hospitalization. Was she hospitalized due to drinking too much and potential alcohol poisoning or did she check herself back into rehab? Was she in the hospital for the entire 6 days?

    The answers to these questions determines the type of response you, as the employer, make. For example, if she was hospitalized due to potential alcohol poisoning this would not be protected as she is not eligible for FMLA. If she checked herself back into rehab then she is protected under ADA. If she was not in the hospital for the entire six days, what required her to miss work? If it was to "recouperate" this would not be covered and your attendance policy would apply.

    I think you need to get more information, as you have the right to under ADA, before making any decisions regarding possible disciplinary action.
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