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IAAL or someone: Why did my aunt have a case? REALLY

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What is the name of your state? CA

My aunt likes to drink a lot and do drugs. She was working at a company doing who-knows-what, as showed up drunk almost daily. Her employer got angry-understandably-at having a worker too drunk to stand. So he fired her. I feel he was right, firing an employee who refused to get treatment (and hasn't to this day) and could not do her job, but rather cost the comp. money.

So she sued under the ADA claiming her drunkeness was a disability, an addiction if you will. She won $25,000 in March. Every penny of her money (1/3 to the atty) has been spent and she has been evicted from her apt. for not paying.

Point is she chose to drink. My dad likes to drink a lot, but only does so if he does not have to work the next day. He has never called out for drinking or showed up drunk-to do so could cost him his life. Yet she chose to drink while getting ready for work, etc.. I was fired after being hit by a car and ending up in the hospital. I did not have a case against my employer, so why did she? I don't understand.


Senior Member
You need to explain further exactly what legal action your aunt took. When you say she "sued" under the ADA, do you mean she only filed a complaint with the EEOC? Or did receive a probable cause determination from them, actually file a civil suit, and go to trial and win the case?

Or did her employer just pay her $25,000 to make her go away after she filed a claim? That would be unfortunate as being drunk at work is not protected under the ADA. Given the modest amount of money your aunt received, I'm guessing the employer voluntarily settled the claim just to get rid of your aunt and the nuisance value of her complaint/suit.

Anybody can file a complaint of discrimination with the gov't, no matter how bogus. Based upon what you have related, your aunt was not protected under the ADA but without knowing all the details - especially whether the employer accidentally misstepped in how they dealt with her, thus creating some liability for themselves - it's impossible to give you an accurate answer.

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