This is a big concern for many professionals in the same predicament. It’s a question that many people struggling with addiction ask themselves, one that many unfortunately give up on before finding out the answer. Often, this is due to a fear of stigmatization by family, friends, and co-workers. But the reality is that it is possible to seek help for addiction without losing your job. In fact, by seeking help, you are less at risk of compromising your work life. But there is a technicality if your job performance has declined because of your drinking, your employer has the right to fire you if they can prove that your performance was poor.
If you choose to go to an alcohol rehab program before your employer takes any disciplinary action, you can’t get fired for past errors or poor job performance. Your employer has the right to test you for drugs. So, it is in your own best interest to find help at a drug rehab program as soon as possible.
Drug Rehab and Workplace Employment
Getting treatment for a substance abuse problem isn’t always an easy solution. Though there are many addiction treatment centers across the United States, and there are several factors that can make accessing addiction treatment more complicated than it should be.
One of the most common issues experienced by addicted individuals pops up when medical professionals recommend inpatient treatment to those who have jobs. Before deciding to enter a treatment program for addiction, you need to know how to approach the situation in a manner that keeps your job safe. There are many legal requirements for receiving coverage and keeping your job.
Knowing what happens after treatment and the state differences in medical coverage is also crucial. But by overcoming stigma and moving towards recovery, you can create a healthy sense of stability in both your career and your life. Some of the federal laws that you are protected by are:
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 – If you have not been intoxicated at work and wish to enter rehab, the fact that you will be actively participating in treatment is reason for you to be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which states that employers cannot fire people for using their own vacation time or sick leave to pursue treatment for a medical condition. While the ADA ruling does not provide extra time off work, it does offer protection for your job if you are able to find a treatment that works with your schedule and days off.
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – As Amended (Rehab Act) prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs conducted by federal agencies, in programs receiving federal financial assistance, in federal employment and in the employment practices of federal contractors.
- The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 – Federal act that “provides workforce investment activities, through statewide and local workforce investment systems, that increase the employment, retention, and earnings of participants, and increase occupational skill attainment by participants, and, as a result, improve the quality of the workforce, reduce welfare dependency, and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the Nation.”
- Health Insurance and Portability Act (HIPPA) of 1996 – This is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the HIPAA Privacy Rule to implement the requirements of HIPAA. The HIPAA Security Rule protects a subset of information covered by the Privacy Rule.
- Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 – According to the United States Department of Labor under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), full-time employees at companies who have over 50 employees in your area can be given up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave if they have a legitimate reason.
- The Fair Housing Act of 1968 – Refuse to provide or discriminate in the terms or conditions of homeowners’ insurance because of the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin of the owner and/or occupants of a dwelling. Drug addiction and alcoholism fall under a disability with this act.