Accommodation for Drug or Alcohol Treatment or Rehabilitation Handbook Statement: California

Author: Amy E. Mendenhall, Marissa L. Dragoo, Corinn Jackson, and Judith A. Paulson, Littler

When to Include This Statement

California employers with more than 25 employees should include this statement in their handbook to educate employees about the availability of accommodations to voluntarily enter and participate in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program and to demonstrate compliance with California law.

Customizable Handbook Statement

Accommodation for Drug or Alcohol Treatment or Rehabilitation

[Company Name] will attempt to reasonably accommodate employees with chemical dependencies (drugs or alcohol), if they voluntarily wish to seek treatment and/or rehabilitation, unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the Company's business operations. The Company's support for treatment and rehabilitation does not obligate the Company to hire or employ any person who violates the Company's drug and alcohol abuse policy or who, because of current use of drugs or alcohol, is unable to perform his or her duties or cannot perform the duties in a manner that would not endanger his or her health or safety or the health or safety of others.

The Company will keep all information submitted in connection with an employee's enrollment in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program confidential to the extent permissible by law. Time off for these purposes is unpaid. However, employees wishing to take such leave may utilize their sick leave or accrued paid time off, if applicable.

Employees who have questions about this policy or who wish to request a reasonable accommodation under this policy should contact their Human Resources representative [or insert name/contact details for appropriate company representative or department].

Guidance for Employers

  • California employers that employ 25 or more employees must reasonably accommodate any employee who wishes to voluntarily enter and participate in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.
  • Employers must reasonably accommodate an employee's request for help as long as the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the employer's business operations.
  • If an employee requests multiple rehabs within the same year, the employer should consult with legal counsel if it wishes to deny a request
  • The law does not require an employer to provide time off with pay for an employee to enroll and participate in a rehabilitation or treatment program but an employer may choose to do so. If an employer chooses to pay for such time, the employer should modify this sample policy statement accordingly.
  • Employees may use accrued sick leave benefits, if applicable, and, although California law is silent on the issue, likely paid time off benefits because such benefits can be used for any reason. California law does not provide for use of vacation time for these purposes.
  • Employers should be attuned to requirements regarding mandatory sick time under California law and the laws of several municipalities in California (e.g., San Francisco), ensuring compliance with the tracking, eligibility, notice and other requirements when that leave is being used.
  • Employers must keep confidential the fact that an employee has enrolled in a rehabilitation or treatment program.
  • Nothing in the law prevents employers from refusing to hire or from terminating an employee who, because of the employee's current use of alcohol or drugs, is unable to perform his or duties or cannot perform the duties in a manner that would not endanger his or her health or safety or the health or safety of others or who has violated the company's drug and alcohol policy.
  • Train Human Resources, supervisors and managers on the procedures for identifying and responding to reasonable accommodation requests from employees and how to properly document such requests. Also train supervisors on how to administer the policy fairly and consistently for all employees.

Additional Resources

Paid Sick and Safe Time Handbook Statement: California

Paid Sick Leave Handbook Statement: Long Beach, California

Paid Sick Leave Handbook Statement [1-9 Employees]: San Francisco, California

Paid Sick Leave Handbook Statement [10+ Employees]: San Francisco, California

Paid Time Off - Hotel Workers Handbook Statement: Los Angeles, California