People have varying medical conditions, and are usually prescribed legal drugs for relief. It is not uncommon for employees to regularly take painkillers, sleeping aids, or any kind of legal medication. Technically speaking, whatever an employee takes as prescribed by a doctor is none of the employer’s business. However, it becomes the employer’s business if those drugs or medications impair the employee’s ability to perform his or her job. Some medications, for example, cause drowsiness. If the employees taking them drive vehicles or operate heavy machinery, they could be putting themselves and their co-workers in danger. There are also prescription drugs that impair one’s judgment, and this could also lead to all kinds of disastrous results.
Since there are laws that protect employees’ rights to take medications as needed, an employer will have little choice but to accommodate the use of those drugs. One option, however, is to transfer the employee to a post where impairment will not endanger anyone in the workplace. To protect themselves from possible discrimination complaints, employers must make sure there is clearly documented evidence of impairment on the part of the employee.