Will I Lose My Job If I Go to Rehab?

Go to Rehab

Just because you have a drug addiction doesn’t mean you aren’t holding down a job. Like many of the other people seeking drug addiction treatment, you are part of the workforce. Though you have a job presently, continuing drug use compromises your safety, the quality of your work, and potentially your position. You need to enter professional drug addiction treatment for a number of reasons and improving your work and keeping your job may be some of them.

Even if you like the idea of rehab, there are a few things you are probably concerned about and a major one is whether or not you can go to rehab and keep your job. When your life is directed by compulsive drug use, it is hard to give your full attention to many things, but you have been manifesting enough focus to continue doing your job adequately. It would be a cruel twist of fate if making an effort to treat the thing which is undermining your job performance cost you your job. Don’t worry. There are legal protections in place and there are drug addiction treatment options that don’t require you to miss work.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

When a person needs to take a leave of absence to care for a family member or receive treatment for an approved medical condition, the Family and Medical Leave Act protects their employment status. Addiction is approved, so this protection extends to people who are pursuing drug addiction treatment. Therefore, taking a leave of absence to get addiction will not cost you your job.

However, you can only take Family Medical Leave if your rehab is offered by a healthcare provider, you are referred to treatment by a healthcare provider, or treatment is part of and employee assistance program. So, you have to make sure you go through the proper channels to take advantage of the protections offered by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

In order to be eligible for protection, you have to have been employed by your present employer for one year or more and you have to have clocked no less than 1,250 hours. You can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year under the Family and Medical Leave Act. As you will retain your job, but not be bringing home pay, you will need to be able to finance the time off.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with a disability, including addiction, are afforded some level of protection from discrimination. However, these people need to be recovering addicts, as the Act also permits employers to comply with the federal regulations and laws concerning drug and alcohol use and to keep the workplace free from the use of drugs and alcohol.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Employers and employees have the following legal obligations.

Employers are able to ban the use of illegal drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

  • A person who is currently engaging in the use of illegal drugs is not considered a person with a disability in instances when an employer responds to the drug use.
  • Any employees currently engaging in the use of illegal drugs can be denied employment or fired.
  • An individual with a history of past drug use who has gone through treatment and is not currently using is protected from discrimination.
  • It is perfectly in line with the Act for employers to test employees for drug use.
  • Employees might be obligated to follow rules established by federal agencies regarding drug and alcohol use in the workplace. This includes the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.
  • Any employees who engage in the use of alcohol or illegal drugs at work must meet the same standards of performance and conduct as every other employee.

It’s very important to make clear that you cannot be discriminated against if you are a former user. So, any work issues you have because of drug or alcohol use won’t be discarded because you say that you are going to rehab. You can expect reasonable accommodation to enter treatment or attend 12-step meetings is you no longer abuse substances.

What is Drug Rehab Like?

Outpatient Treatment

If you enter inpatient treatment, you have to live at the facility for the entirety of your rehab program. Even with the unpaid leave provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may not be able to manage it. A lot of people simply can’t keep afloat without their regular income. So, a better option is outpatient treatment.

Outpatient rehab simply requires patients to arrive at the facility for scheduled treatment activities, like educational sessions and group therapy. The remainder of the time can be spent however you choose, including going to your job. This allows you to be treated without missing work. It also gives you regular access to your support system. You can see the people who love you as often as you need to for motivation and morale boosts. In addition, inpatient treatment is generally less expensive than outpatient care, and if the expense is an issue, this may be important to you.

Reach Out

If you are an employee who is grappling with an addiction, you are engaged in a tough battle, and professional addiction treatment is the weapon that will help you to win. Entering rehab can save your career and salvage your reputation. If you continue using, you are breaking the law, creating an unsafe workplace for yourself and others and breaking the law.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.