Are you worried that if you take time off from work to go to rehab, you may lose your job? You have some protections in place to help you keep your job. It’s also worth considering that not seeking help for an addiction to drugs or alcohol may cause you to be terminated. Let’s get started answering the question “Can I get fired for going to rehab?”
Family and Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993. Many people mistakenly believe it only covers certain medical conditions that require time off, such as cancer. While it does pertain to situations such as major illnesses or having a new child in the family, it also addresses going to rehab.
The FMLA provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off from a job to address family and medical situations. Qualified employees who take advantage of FMLA receive a guarantee that their job will be there when they return to work. In addition, their group health benefits will continue for the duration of their time off.
FMLA allows for time off needed to seek treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol. An employee who can benefit from this type of treatment is considered to have a serious health condition, which means FMLA applies to them. The employer typically needs to approve of the treatment that will be provided. They will look for an approved health care provider that offers standardized treatment for substance use disorders.
Make certain you receive approval to use FMLA before taking the time off. Asking for it retroactively may result in job loss. Requirements to qualify for FMLA include:
- Have to have worked for a minimum of one year for the employer
- Have to have worked at least 1,250 hours within the past twelve months
- Must be employed at a facility with at least 50 employees who work within a 75-mile radius
FMLA also provides an option for employees to take time off in order to help care for a family member who receives treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.
One caveat to be aware of is that some companies consider having a substance use disorder to be a violation of their employment terms. The illness itself might give a company reason to terminate a job. Check with any company policy handbooks or websites for information. Talking in general terms to an HR (human resources) representative can also provide answers.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not prohibit discrimination against an employee who uses drugs or alcohol on the job. Where it comes into play pertains to seeking treatment. An employee may opt to take vacation time or related paid time off from work in order to seek addiction treatment. If the employer finds out the employee is entering rehab, they cannot be fired for this reason. Under the ADA, chemical dependency is classified as a disability.
Keep in mind that the ADA does not protect someone who gets into trouble on the job because of their use of drugs or alcohol. The program relates to protecting those who have received or plan to receive rehab treatment. A company may consider someone defined as currently using drugs to be exempt from the ADA. “Current usage” is not a clearly defined term, and may be interpreted differently by various employers.
If you have questions about your specific situation, a search of the ADA website can provide answers. You can also contact the department at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY).
Talk to Treatment Program Admissions for Guidance
If you have any questions about if you can get fired for going to rehab, consult with treatment program admission employees. The admissions and intake departments usually have knowledge about how best to approach taking time off from work to seek help for an addiction. If they don’t have definitive answers for your situation, they will likely have suggestions for where to get the answers.
Don’t Let Fear of Job Loss Keep You From Seeking Treatment
Making the decision to seek help for drug and alcohol addiction takes bravery. Having the concern of “Can I get fired for going to rehab?” in your head can tempt a person not to seek help. Follow through by investigating the options we’ve laid out to help protect your employment.
You can also consult with any treatment providers you already have, such as a doctor, counselor, or group support leader. If you know someone who sought addiction treatment, ask them how they handled keeping their job while completing it.
Remember that the decision not to seek treatment may end up costing you your job. Showing up to work under the influence can get a person fired. Disruptions or dangerous situations that result on the job while working under the influence can also result in termination. In some cases, employers may opt to sue or otherwise seek damages caused by this type of event.
If you find that your type of job situation is not covered by FMLA or you know that you may be legally terminated if you disclose a substance use disorder, do not give up. While the idea of walking away from a job can intimidate anyone, sometimes your health has to be the priority.
Talk to any family members, a spouse, or a romantic partner who understands your situation. Discuss if seeking addiction treatment and then finding another job afterward can work for you. Make sure you don’t limit yourself because you have not allowed all options to be laid out on the table and thought through. Your physical and mental health must be a priority. Everything else can fall into place after you address that.
Rehab Treatment in Texas
If you are ready to seek treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol, Casa Colina has the right rehab program to help you. Our men-only facility in the Dallas area offers luxury residential treatment that includes holistic, equine, and trauma-related therapy. We treat the whole individual and involve family support with regular updates and a family therapy program.
Contact Casa Colina right now by clicking here and get started on living a sober life.