Does the ADA Really Protect Alcoholics Paper

Does the ADA Really Protect Alcoholics Paper - American...

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American Disability Act and Alcoholism 1 The ADA and Alcoholism: Does the American Disabilities Act Really Protect Alcoholics? Southern Connecticut State University MGT 498 Patricia Terry J.D. December 7, 2007
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American Disability Act and Alcoholism 2 Abstract This paper will explore how and if the American Disability Act of 1990 (ADA), protects alcoholics and under what circumstances they are protected. The legal rights of a person considered an alcoholic are defined by the ADA. However, the legal rights given to an alcoholic appear to be contradictory to one of the main components of the alcoholics disease, consumption control. Through analysis of the ADA documentation and case study, we will learn who is actually protected and how the courts have decided. Alcoholism Defined In order to understand the legal rights afforded to alcoholics we first need to establish what criteria defines a person as an alcoholic. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), alcoholism is considered a disease,1 and although it consists of numerous social and physical dangers, it is most classified by four important characteristics. Those four are cravings or need, inability to control consumption, physical dependence and tolerance. 1 NIH says physical dependence is substantial withdrawal symptoms in abstinence. 1 NIH also defines tolerance as having a much greater consumption need than average in order to feel any effects of impairment or “high”.1 Now that we know the medical definition of alcoholism we need to define what rights, the ADA has put in place to protect alcoholics. 1 U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health, Medline Plus, Alcoholism; (2007). Retrieved Saturday, December 08, 2007, online at: <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/alcoholism.html >
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American Disability Act and Alcoholism 3 ADA: Disability Discrimination The ADA protects qualified individuals from discrimination in the workplace due to a disability when there is a “substantial limitation of one or more major life activity” 2 or if s/he is perceived to have a disability and does not. 2 The ADA also defines a disability as someone who has a “record of an impairment.” 2 The ADA includes a provision that protects employers from having to bear unreasonable financial burden in the event they cannot reasonably accommodate the costs of providing for that disability. This is referred to as “undue hardship.” 2 We have clarified alcoholism as a disease and this disease is protected by the ADA. Does this mean an alcoholic gets to drink whenever s/he has to and the employer has
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Does the ADA Really Protect Alcoholics Paper - American...

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