Evidence of progress in employee’s treatment for alcoholism tempers disciplinary penalty
NYC Department of Sanitation v Anonymous, OATH Index #1637/12
Although the New York City Department of Sanitation sought to terminate an employee after a positive alcohol test, OATH Administrative Law Judge Tynia D. Richard recommended a 30-day suspension for the sanitation worker.
Judge Richard noted that the employee had offered evidence of his progress through alcohol treatment as a recovering addict.
The Department’s request for termination was essentially based on the two earlier opportunities that it had provided the worker to recover from his alcohol dependence.*
In fashioning a penalty recommendation, the ALJ noted that employee had voluntarily entered the treatment program, took responsibility for his actions and showed insight into the extent of his problem, and that such a penalty might be combined with ongoing alcohol testing (though not provided under Civil Service Law §75) as the Department sees fit.
* Individuals who abuse alcohol may be considered disabled under the ADA if the person is an alcoholic or a recovering alcoholic. Courts have usually held that alcoholism is a covered disability. For example, in Williams v. Widnal, 119 F3d 305, [Cert. Denied 118 S. Ct. 871], the court said, without discussion, that alcoholism “is a covered disability.”
The decision is posted on the Internet at:http://archive.citylaw.org/oath/12_Cases/12-1637.pdf