A significant number of Americans drink alcohol. Many people consume alcohol every once in a while, but they do not make it a habit. For others, however, alcohol represents a solution to problems – which can quickly lead to alcohol dependence. Millions of people are struggling with alcoholism. Many of them hold jobs, but are always at risk of being fired due to the ignorance of employers.
Many employers think that alcoholism is a valid reason to terminate their employees. However, employees cannot be terminated just because they are alcoholics – as they are protected by both federal and state law. Were you terminated based on your alcoholism? Did your employer fire you simply because he or she found out that you were an alcoholic? If so, you might be interested in exploring the possibility of taking action against your employer.
If you would like to learn more about taking action against your employer after your were terminated based on your alcoholism, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with our experts as soon as possible. California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is an employment law firm with many years of experience handling all sorts of employment claims – including wrongful termination claims. If you believe that you were illegally fired based on your alcoholism, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance as soon as possible as you might have grounds to take action against your employer. You can trust the employment experts at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group to provide you with the legal guidance necessary to hold your employer accountable for your wrongful termination.
The Definition of Alcoholism
Alcoholism, also referred to as alcohol abuse disorder and alcohol dependence, is a chronic disease that is strictly characterized by uncontrollable drinking and a general preoccupation with alcohol. Alcoholics usually feel as they cannot function without consuming alcohol; this can impact many different aspects of the alcoholic’s life. Some of the most common signs of alcoholism include the following: the inability to control alcohol consumption; craving alcohol at all times; behaving differently after consuming alcohol; spending significant amounts of money on alcohol and alcohol consumption; placing alcohol and alcohol consumption above personal and professional responsibilities; feeling the urge to keep drinking.
There are many reasons that cause people to drink. When people drink for these reasons, they are likely to develop a dependence on alcohol. Some of these common reasons include the following:
- To relieve stress
- To feel good/better
- To cope with loss/grief
- To overcome anxiety
- To deal with shame
- To deal with trauma
As of 2015, it is believed that approximately 15.1 million adults (ages 18 and older) had alcohol use disorder. Without a doubt, problems with alcohol can affect almost every aspect of your life. However, alcoholism is a medical condition, and it should be treated as such.
The Definition of Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination occurs when employers make the decision to terminate employees based on illegal reasons – or any reasons that are not directly related to the employee’s ability to perform the job. In general, there are a number of laws that establish many protected personal characteristics. It is illegal to fire an employee based on any protected personal characteristic. When employees are wrongfully terminated, employers are violating employment law – and could be held accountable. This means that terminated employees will likely have grounds to take action against their employer for their wrongful termination.
When Alcoholism and Wrongful Termination Intertwine
There is many ways in which employers could find out that one of their employees is an alcoholic. For example, during workplace socializing – whether at a company outing or holiday party, for example – there are usually alcoholic beverages. In this scenario, it is very possible for an employer to become aware of any employees with a drinking problem. In many cases, employees become friends and spend time together outside of work; if co-workers become aware of the fact that someone is an alcoholic, that information could find its way back to the employer. In other cases, the employer could directly see that an employee is struggling with alcohol abuse, either because the employee is showing up to work with a hangover/still drunk or because the employee is drinking during rest and meal periods. It is also possible for employees dealing with alcoholism to personally inform their employer of their condition.
Unfortunately, some employers decide to terminate employees as soon as they find out of their alcoholism. Employers might reason that alcoholic employees are a liability for the company. Without a doubt, an alcoholic employee who is aggressive, disrespectful, unable to perform his/her job, and a danger to the company could cause an employer to reconsider whether he or she is still a good fit for the workplace. However, if an employee’s alcoholism is not posing a problem to the workplace, should the employer have grounds to reevaluate the employee’s employment?
Is Termination based on Alcoholism Lawful?
The answer to this question can be tricky. Although you cannot be terminated for being an alcoholic, you could be terminated for the actions associated with your alcoholism. Why can’t you be terminated simply for being an alcoholic? If there is one thing that you need to know regarding alcoholism and employment, it is that alcoholism is classified as a medical condition.
Because alcoholism is a medical condition, employees who have alcohol abuse problems are protected by both federal and state law. Consider the following points:
- The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against their employees based on a disability, disease, or medical condition. The ADA also requires that employers give their employees reasonable accommodations for medical conditions – given that the medical condition can be proven to affect and limit the employee substantially in a major life activity. An example of an accommodation for alcoholism includes allowing the employee to take leave to go to rehab, for instance. The ADA is a federal law.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) makes it illegal for employers to terminate their employees for taking time off from work (up to 12 weeks) to address their medical condition. If an employee is taking FMLA leave to address their alcoholism and spend time in rehab, for example, the employee cannot be terminated for taking time off work. However, the employee must request to go on leave and must provide the appropriate proof of a medical condition. The FMLA is a federal law.
- The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes it illegal for employers to terminate their employees based on a number of personal characteristics, including medical condition. FEHA also establishes that employers must accommodate their employees dealing with medical conditions. THE FEHA is a California state law.
- The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) makes it illegal for employees to take time off work to deal with a health condition. The employee must request to take leave and must provide the appropriate proof to be able to take job-secured leave. The CFRA is a California state law.
If you would like to learn more about the different laws that make wrongful termination based on alcoholism illegal, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. If your employer terminated you based on your alcoholism, your employer likely violated some of the federal or state laws listed above – that means that you could take action against your employer. You should not be terminated given that you can perform the essential duties of your job and you are not a threat to yourself, others, and the company.
When is Termination based on Alcoholism Allowed?
As previously mentioned, employees dealing with alcoholism cannot be fired simply because they are alcoholics. However, there are exceptions to the laws that protect employees dealing with this condition. Employees dealing with alcoholism can be lawfully terminated for the following:
- Their inappropriate, unsafe, or reckless behavior due to their alcoholism
- Drinking during working hours (showing up to work drunk)
- Their criminal behavior in the workplace while under the influence of alcohol
- Their actions that result in damage to the employer’s property
- Their inability to perform their job safely and efficiently
- Losing any licenses necessary to perform their jobs (e.g. driver’s license)
- Their constant tardiness or absences
- Their failure to return from leave or to inform their employer that they’re taking leave
- The failure to accept help with rehabilitation
- The failure to bring the condition to the employer’s attention
These are just some of the reasons that could make termination lawful for employees dealing with alcoholism. Although you cannot be terminated simply for being an alcoholic, some details sprouting from your alcoholism could eventually lead to a lawful termination. If you would like to learn more about the instances in which termination is legal to determine whether you were wrongfully terminated, do not hesitate to discuss your claim with the experts at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group.
Do You Have the Right to Take Action against Your Employer?
What are the options available to you if you were wrongfully terminated based on your alcoholism? Without a doubt, you have the right to take action against your employer if you were wrongfully terminated. In general, there is a clear path to take to pursue a claim. However, employment claims are different – claimants will have at least three options when it comes to taking action against their employers.
Consider the following:
- Wrongfully terminated employees could pursue a claim through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal employment agency responsible for enforcing all federal employment laws.
- Wrongfully terminated employees could pursue a claim through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the state employment agency in California responsible for enforcing all state employment laws.
- Wrongfully terminated employees could pursue a civil claim against their employers after receiving the right to sue from the EEOC or DFEH.
If you would like a more in-depth review of the options available to you in terms of taking action against your employer after being wrongfully terminated, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with the experts at our employment law firm at your earliest convenience. Our lawyers are ready to evaluate your claim and help you gain a thorough understanding of the specific action that you should take against your employer – contact our firm today.
Do You Have the Right to Recover Compensation?
You were wrongfully terminated; could you be eligible to recover monetary compensation? If your claim reaches a successful outcome, you will likely be eligible to recover compensation. How much compensation could you receive? What type of compensation could you recover?
The compensation available for recovery depends on the specific details of your claim. In general, some of the categories of compensation available for wrongful termination claims include the following:
- Lost wages
- Lost benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
In addition to the recovery of the compensation listed above, successful claims could also result in reinstatement and reimbursement for attorney’s fees, for example. Regardless of the specific details of your claim, you can be certain that our lawyers will aggressively fight for your right to recover the compensation that you deserve. If you would like to learn more about the specific type and amount of compensation that you could be eligible to recover upon reaching a successful claim outcome, do not hesitate to contact the experts at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group at your earliest convenience.
Understanding Important Statutes of Limitations
Were you wrongfully terminated based on your alcoholism? Without a doubt, you have the right to take action against your employer. However, you could lose your right to take action against your employer if you fail to take action within the appropriate length of time. All claims are subject to specific deadlines. Employment claims, in specific, can be subjected to different deadlines based on the action being pursued.
Consider the following points:
- Claims with the EEOC must be filed within 300 days.
- Civil claims after receiving the right to sue from the EEOC must be filed within 90 days.
- Claims with the DFEH must be filed within 1 year.
- Civil claims after receiving the right to sue from the DFEH must be filed within 1 year.
Because the deadline that applies to your claim can vary based on the specific action you are interested in pursuing, it is always recommended that claimants seek the expertise of a wrongful termination attorney for information about the exact time that they have to pursue a claim. For more information, do not hesitate to contact the experts at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group today.
Seek Legal Assistance Today
Do you believe that you were fired because of your alcoholism? If your employer made the decision to terminate you based on your alcoholism – even if your alcoholism was not impeding your ability to perform your job and did not pose a threat to yourself or others in the workplace – your termination might have been unlawful. If you suspect that your termination might have been unlawful, it is absolutely necessary that you seek legal assistance with the experts at our law firm as soon as possible. The wrongful termination lawyers at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group have many years of experience handling wrongful termination claims and representing those who have been wrongfully terminated. If you would like to discuss the possibility of pursuing a claim against your employer after you were terminated based on your alcoholism, do not hesitate to contact our lawyers immediately.
At California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group, we understand the difficulties that being wrongfully terminated could cause, and we are dedicated to ensuring that all victims of wrongful termination have access to all the information that they need to pursue a claim against their employers. Our firm offers free legal services – which include free consultations and free second opinions. During our free consultations and free second opinions, our lawyers will be available to answer all your questions, address all your concerns, and provide you with all the information that you need to begin or continue your wrongful termination claim against the employer that unlawfully terminated you. If you would like to schedule a free consultation or a free second opinion, do not hesitate to contact our firm immediately.
Our firm offers a convenient Zero-Fee guarantee to ensure that you never have to worry about paying any upfront legal fees. Our law firm is also based on contingency; therefore, our clients will never be required to pay any legal costs until after reaching successful case outcomes. Are you ready to discuss your wrongful termination based on alcoholism with the experts at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group? If so, do not hesitate to contact our law firm today.