View Poll Results: Is alcohol abuse a disability; do you agree or disagree with the EEOC?

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  • I agree alcohol abuse is a disability, I agree with the EEOC position

    4 9.09%
  • I agree alcohol abuse is a disability, I disagree with the EEOC position

    3 6.82%
  • I disagree that alcohol abuse is a disability, I agree with the EEOC position

    2 4.55%
  • I disagree that alcohol abuse is a disability, I disagree with the EEOC position

    25 56.82%
  • Rutabega

    3 6.82%
  • Other (Explain please)

    7 15.91%
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Thread: Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

  1. #1
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    Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

    Quote Originally Posted by FoxNews
    Citing a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Obama administration is suing a trucking company for taking the keys away from an Arkansas driver and eventually firing him after he admitted he was battling alcohol abuse.
    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit this week arguing that Old Dominion Freight Line discriminated against Charles Grams by stripping him of his position and offering him a demotion even if he completed a substance abuse counseling program.


    Instead, the EEOC argued, the North Carolina-based company, which has a service center in Arkansas, should have complied with the law, known as the ADA, while ensuring safety.
    “The ADA mandates that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to achieve in the workplace,” said Katharine Kores, director of the EEOCs Memphis District Office, which covers Arkansas. “While the EEOC agrees that an employer’s concern regarding safety on our highways is a legitimate issue, an employer can both ensure safety and comply with the ADA.”

    The EEOC says alcoholism is a recognized disability under the ADA and that the company violated the law with its policy that bans any driver who admits alcohol abuse from driving again.

    The EEOC wants the company to reinstate Grams and another affected driver to their previous positions and provide them with back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and compensation for lost benefits. The EEOC is also seeking to block the company’s alcohol-related policy.

    The company's policy bans any driver who self-reports alcohol abuse from driving again. Reassignment to a non-driving position is contingent upon the driver enrolling in a treatment program.

    Joel McCarty, general counsel to Old Dominion, wouldn’t comment on the details of the pending litigation. But he told FoxNews.com, “We intend to vigorously defend our position.”
    When asked to respond to EEOC’s comments and rationale behind the lawsuit, McCarty said, “Obviously, we disagree with their position totally.”
    “Our concern is safety,” he said. “And that’s why we intend to defend the policy.”


    This is a private company with their own private policies. This could be alcoholism, drug use / abuse or other self administered problem. Second, does a company have a right to put their own policies out especially ones that protect not only their employees but others lives? Think of the lawsuit of a reformed alcoholic who falls off the wagon who was forced to be give the keys by the EEOC policy, who kills a family of three in an accident? Is it a better policy to force the keys back into their hands or is it a better policy to remove that option and keep them employed elsewhere?
    “I think if Thomas Jefferson were looking down, the author of the Bill of Rights, on what’s being proposed here, he’d agree with it. He would agree that the First Amendment cannot be absolute.” - Chuck Schumer (D). Yet, Madison and Mason wrote the Bill of Rights, according to Sheila Jackson Lee, 400 years ago. Yup, it's a fact.


  2. #2
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    Re: Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

    The Americans with Disabilities Act has exclusions for safety. The only issue I see here is that they demoted him, instead of giving him a position equal in status/pay/etc

    And since it FauxNews, I'm not surprised to see the misleading headline. Almost every disability case goes through the EEOC...It's the law
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    Re: Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

    Alcohol abuse is not a disability and should not be treated as such. A private company can do what they want.
    When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. -Socrates
    Tired of elections being between the lesser of two evils.

  4. #4
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    Re: Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

    If his alcohol abuse is going to affect the safety of his driving, that's a valid reason for banning him - whether it's a disability or not is irrelevant; he wouldn't be allowed to drive if he was blind, and that's definitely one. If it's not going to affect the safety of his driving, they shouldn't be allowed to ban him, irregardless of the fact that they're a private company - for the same reason that they shouldn't be allowed to ban him if he voted Democrat when the company owner was a Republican; it's got nothing to do with them.

    From the news story alone, it's pretty tough to work out which of the two situations the guy is in. Random spot-test breathalyser checks for a month and see how he goes?
    The truth may be out there, but lies are in your head. ~Terry Pratchett

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    Re: Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

    It's an addiction.

    is addiction a disability or disorder? Only if it's caused by some type of natural issue of the individual such as a health condition like a tumor or regulatory miscommunication in the body (which accounts for a small number of cases) - like, for those who are overweight - some suffer from Momo disease which is where their mind tells their body that they're hungry even when they aren't . . .leading to constant overeating. For tehse people their obesity is a side effect of an underlying issue. I can imagine that the same situation can happen for an alcoholic (etc) - but it's probably not very common.

    It, being an addiction for most, is a choice that has many consequences.
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    Re: Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

    I generally disagree that alcohol abuse is a disability. But I've known two people in my lifetime whom I'd describe as sick/disabled because of it. They've both destroyed their families and careers and have gone to jail and prison, and one of them nearly burned himself to death. And yet cannot--cannot--stop drinking. They're sick, mentally sick, and cannot help themselves.

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    Re: Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

    It's a way to get people that need it to go to rehab. If employers could just fire people for being alcoholics, no alcoholic that has a job could go to rehab. This makes it possible for people to go. And it even adds in an incentive to go- they can fire you if you refuse to seek treatment. Employers also only need to offer you that chance one time, so it creates an incentive to stick with the treatment.

    I know a couple of people that have taken advantage of this option and in both cases it completely turned their lives around.

    I don't really see a downside. Appears to just be Fox trying to make the world suck worse for people as per usual.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

    It's no more a disability than it is a frigging disease. It's a CHOICE.

  9. #9
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    Re: Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

    It is a disability, but as with so many things from Faux News, there is much more to it than the story. It requires a bit of critical thinking, something you will not find that works well with Fox. The ADA - has anyone read the law? - mandates reasonable accommodation. I do not think that it is reasonable for a transportation company to routinely hire drug addicts and alcoholics as drivers. I don't believe that it is reasonable for a person who has a clear record of alcohol abuse to the point that it becomes a disability to expect to be hired as a freight hauler. What would be expected if a driver began to develop macular degeneration? Macular degeneration constitutes a disability. Would you honestly expect that person to drive? I wouldn't. It would be unreasonable.

    The OP is exactly the kind of crap that Fox and uninformed Absolutists jump on. Alcoholism is a disability, however, the ADA does not mandate that alcoholics be permitted to have any job they want. That's bull**** and the ADA doesn't say that. It is reasonable to assume that deaf people not be given jobs as sonar operators, it is reasonable that blind people not be given jobs as air traffic controllers. It is reasonable that alcoholics not be given jobs as commercial drivers.

    What Faux News has done - as usual - is stir the pot for people who are too willfully ignorant to analyze the information they are given and the way it is present, by Fox. The story here is actually about the fact that the guy was provided a lesser paying position. If that is all that is available then that is all there is. It is unreasonable for Old Dominion to create a position for the driver. That would be wrong.

    I am an employer, I think Republican partisans now call that a "job creator". I have experience with EEOC and from first hand experience I can tell you that EEOC lawyers can be wrong and have been wrong. The ADA isn't a bad law and like good laws it is left to interpretation.










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    Re: Is alcohol abuse a "disability"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ockham View Post
    This is a private company with their own private policies. This could be alcoholism, drug use / abuse or other self administered problem. Second, does a company have a right to put their own policies out especially ones that protect not only their employees but others lives? Think of the lawsuit of a reformed alcoholic who falls off the wagon who was forced to be give the keys by the EEOC policy, who kills a family of three in an accident? Is it a better policy to force the keys back into their hands or is it a better policy to remove that option and keep them employed elsewhere?
    [/COLOR][/LEFT]
    He actually has more opportunity working the warehouse or logistics to advance and compete than he would if he remained a driver. more time near home to take classes to advance at community college, etc. After all, there are not executive long haul drivers, or management intrastate/local. While a cut in pay may result initially, the opportunity to rise above what he would have made as a driver is clearly there.
    Last edited by Occam's Razor; 09-03-11 at 03:28 PM.

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