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04.13.2022

Can I Get Fired for Going to Rehab?

Starting your journey towards sobriety usually starts with going to a rehabilitation center. The process is not easy, and it can take some time. You can plan to stay a month or longer if you go to a residential treatment facility. Though, there are outpatient services that cater to those who have a family or job and cannot take time off. People don’t get help because they’re afraid of losing their job.

Maybe you don’t have vacation time, or you’re afraid to tell your employer that you have an addiction issue for fear they will fire you. However, while taking time off work doesn’t sound appealing financially, there’s an even higher cost if you skip this vital step in your recovery.

What would you lose if you didn’t get the treatment you need? You could lose your job by showing up intoxicated, or your addiction could become worse, and you lose your spouse and family. There’s a significant price to addiction, and you need to weigh the costs and see if the job means more to you than your life.

Taking Care of Things Before It Gets Worse

Have you ever gone to work with a hangover? Did these withdrawal symptoms make you irritable with other coworkers or even management? Do you find that you have disagreements with others because of your agitation and bad mood? Some people get angry when they have drugs or alcohol in their systems, while others become sleepy.

Not only will your mood cause issues, but your work performance will suffer when you’re not functioning at 100 percent. You risk losing your job and being fired for any of these situations, so most employers would rather you take care of the addiction issue than fire you.

Keeping Your Job

Now, when it comes to losing your job for going into rehab, things can get a little bit sticky. Since drug and alcohol dependence is a disease, it’s like any other medical condition requiring you to take time off. The Family and Medical Leave Act permits employees with tenure to take leave. You must have been employed with the company for more than 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours to take time off.

You’re allowed to have 12 weeks of unpaid time off your job under this act. Some of the valid reasons for using FMLA include:

•Birth of a child
•Caring for a sick family member
•Medical leave due to a health issue
•A child being placed in foster care or being adopted

You must understand that these benefits are beyond what your employer offers. See, having an addiction and getting treatment is like someone with cancer taking chemotherapy or a kidney patient taking dialysis. They are all necessary treatments for survival.

Talking to Your Employer

The first step in securing your job once you complete rehab is to have a conversation with your employer. Above all else, be honest with them. Please don’t makeup something to lead them off track, as they will find out. It would help if you told them that you want to conquer your addiction head-on and get your life together.

Most employers know the pressure their employees are under these days, and they understand how easy it is to self-medicate. So, they will be more eager to work with someone upfront and honest than someone who lies and avoids the issue. If your substance abuse is severe, the chances are that your employer already knows something is wrong.

You need to make sure that you qualify for FMLA, and you can check the status of this with your human resources department. If you have vacation and sick days, you can also use some of this to help bring in income while you’re in treatment. The good news is that most insurance companies will cover some or all the costs of your in-patient stay, which makes going even more appealing to those struggling.

Additionally, your HR department will need proof from the rehab center that you’re attending so they can approve your FMLA.

Getting Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Now it’s possible that some employers might not be so understanding, and they can fire you. This is especially true if you don’t qualify for FMLA. However, it’s still best to go through the proper channels to have an excellent legal defense when the time comes. Concentrate on getting better and worry about the other stuff later.

While the law will protect you while entering a rehab facility, it won’t cover everyone when the stay is long-term. However, getting better should be your focus. If you’re ready for inpatient or outpatient services, our team is standing by, ready to help. Call us today at 844-903-2111 to get the process started.