Discrimination due to a person's disability, if it's considered a disability under the ADA, is illegal. I did some research and it appears that you guys are wrong. My employer cannot fire me for being on methadone maintenance.
The following is from ada.gov (http://www.ada.gov/taman2.html#II-2.3000)
II-2.3000 Drug addiction as an impairment. Drug
addiction is an impairment under the ADA. A public entity, however, may base a
decision to withhold services or benefits in most cases on the fact that an
addict is engaged in the current and illegal use of drugs.
What is "illegal use of drugs"? Illegal use of drugs means the use of
one or more drugs, the possession or distribution of which is unlawful under the
Controlled Substances Act. It does not include use of controlled substances
pursuant to a valid prescription, or other uses that are authorized by the
Controlled Substances Act or other Federal law. Alcohol is not a "controlled
substance," but alcoholism is a disability.
What is "current use"? "Current use" is the illegal use of controlled
substances that occurred recently enough to justify a reasonable belief that a
person's drug use is current or that continuing use is a real and ongoing
problem. A public entity should review carefully all the facts surrounding its
belief that an individual is currently taking illegal drugs to ensure that its
belief is a reasonable one.
Does title II protect drug addicts who no longer take controlled
substances? Yes. Title II prohibits discrimination against drug addicts
based solely on the fact that they previously illegally used controlled
substances. Protected individuals include persons who have successfully
completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program or have otherwise been
rehabilitated successfully and who are not engaging in current illegal use of
drugs. Additionally, discrimination is prohibited against an individual who is
currently participating in a supervised rehabilitation program and is not
engaging in current illegal use of drugs. Finally, a person who is erroneously
regarded as engaging in current illegal use of drugs is protected.
Here is more info that specifically talks about methadone: (http://www.ncadd-sfv.org/profiles/disability.html)
What Protections Against Discrimination are Provided to Individuals With Drug
and Alcohol Impairments?
Many employers do not realize that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
protects individuals with drug and alcohol problems against discrimination in
employment. This confusion exists because the ADA imposes some special
requirements for the employment of individuals with current drug
People with past drug or alcohol problems are protected from
job discrimination by the ADA, as are persons with current alcohol problems who
are able to perform their job. The only individuals with drug and alcohol
problems who do not have the same rights as others with disabilities are those
who currently use drugs illegally.
The ADA specifically excludes from the
definitions of "individual with a disability" any employee or applicant who is
currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs, when the covered entity acts on
the basis of such use. This includes individuals who use illicit drugs as well
as those who use prescription medications unlawfully. Individuals who use drugs
under the supervision of a licensed health care professional -- such as
methadone -- are not using drugs illegally, and therefore could be protected
Although individuals with current drug problems
are not protected, the ADA specifically protects individuals who are
participating in a supervised drug rehabilitation program or who have completed
a treatment program or have been rehabilitated through self-help groups,
employee assistance programs or any other type of rehabilitation, and are no
longer using drugs.
In addition, the ADA protects individuals who are
erroneously perceived as abusing drugs illegally, but are not doing so. Because
of societal attitudes about drug abuse, many individuals who have had drug
problems in the past are perceived as still being drug dependent. Similarly,
individuals who participate in methadone maintenance programs are also often
perceived as drug dependent, even though methadone is a lawfully prescribed
medication and individuals who participate in a methadone maintenance program
are able to do every task -- even safety- related tasks -- that a person who is
not receiving such treatment can do. These individuals are protected against
discrimination under the ADA.
I think this my friend was right even though she's not a lawyer, and the person who is a lawyer is wrong. I was hoping to get advice here from people who really know what they are talking about.