May an employer ask a job applicant about current or past illegal drug use?

Author: Jessica Sussman

Prior to making an offer, an employer may ask an applicant whether he or she is currently using, or has in the past used, illegal drugs or alcohol as long as the questions are not likely to elicit information about past drug addiction, which is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, before making an offer, an employer may not ask about the frequency or amount of drugs the applicant has used in the past, or whether he or she participated in a drug rehabilitation program as this information likely will reveal a drug addiction.

After extending a job offer, an employer may ask about the extent of the applicant's past drug and alcohol use as long as it is job related, consistent with business necessity and would affect the applicant's ability to perform the essential functions of his or her job.