When considering drug or alcohol treatment, many concerns come to mind regarding the risks of checking into a rehabilitation center. Some individuals have family obligations to worry about, such as children, pets, or even parents. Others may have important job duties that make them skeptic to leave for extended periods of time.
In fact, it is a common worry that people who enroll in rehabilitation centers will lose their jobs from their extended leaves. Can you maintain job security while taking a potentially long leave from work? Is it legal for your employer to fire you for an extended leave?
There are a number of rights that cover these issues and ways to make compromises in such situations—all of which are important to consider before making the decision to undergo treatment.
Talk to Your Employer
Communication is one of your most important assets in any situation, especially when it comes to troubles in the workplace. You must be open and honest with your employer about what is going on in your life—even though the conversation may be difficult—so they can understand your situation.
Some companies may have alcohol or drug policies or even an EAP (Employee Assistance Programs) to take these issues into account. With an EAP, your employer can actually help you find and connect to counseling services or rehabilitation centers.
Most importantly, make sure to tie up any and all loose ends between you and your employer; make sure the situation is clear, taken care of, and that they know when and for how long you may be gone.
In the case that your employer does not have any alcohol or drug policies or an EAP to cover you in this situation, insurance companies may be able to provide you with options.
Some workplaces will provide you with health insurance, or you may need to invest in your own insurance policies. Reach out to your insurance company and find out what policies may cover therapy and rehab plans.
While insurance companies may be more willing to cover a 30-day recovery plan through loans or health insurance coverage, they may not be able to fully cover longer periods, such as a 90-day residential plan.
Know Your Rights
There are ways to make the situation clear with your employer—talking with them about your struggles and looking towards insurance for help can move you through the recovery process. However, the matter of whether or not you can be fired for treating your addiction becomes a muddled area.
You cannot be fired simply for choosing to enroll in drug or alcohol rehabilitation. American citizens are protected under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) laws. Under these acts, an employer cannot fire you simply for seeking and enrolling into treatment. Furthermore, once you have started treatment, you cannot be fired for any reason that relates to your addiction.
However, if your employer notices a decline in your work performance due to any drug or alcohol abuse and before you request treatment, they can fire you so long as they have proof of your decline.
This is why communication with your employer and taking your addiction seriously is important—to avoid these scenarios, manage your job security, and help you down the road to recovery as safely and as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one is considering rehabilitation for drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab program in Tennessee. You might also investigate Discovery Place’s own recovery programs, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Recovery Program or our Long Term Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.