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Newly updated: Substance use disorder webpage for federal workers and contractors


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Washington — The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has updated its online hub of information and resources on substance use disorder and recovery.

Intended for federal workers and contractors, the webpage details the rights of workers and applicants under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Under the act, a person with a substance use disorder – including alcohol – may qualify as an individual with a disability “if they are no longer engaged in the illegal use of drugs and have either been successfully rehabilitated or are participating in a supervised rehabilitation program,” an OFFCP press release states.

The release notes that an individual with a disability can’t be terminated, demoted, docked pay or denied employment because of their condition.

Federal contractors may not discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of disability. In addition, those contractors must provide reasonable accommodations, including:

  • Allowing time off for medical treatment.
  • Modifying work schedules for outpatient treatment or counseling.
  • Temporarily reassigning an employee while they complete treatment.

Other best practices include offering employee training and assistance programs, providing training on drug-free workplace policies, and offering employee health and wellness initiatives.

“Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Recovery-Ready Workplace Resource Hub offers resources and information for employers, employees and the broader public on promoting recovery-ready workplaces,” the release states. “Employers can also learn about the benefits of recovery-ready workplaces, including reducing turnover, improving productivity, reducing health care costs, expanding the labor force, and promoting overall worker well-being and recovery.” 

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