Can You Lose Your Job for Going to Rehab?

Can You Lose Your Job for Going to Rehab?

Rehab for drug and alcohol abuse can take a long time. When you get inpatient services, you might be in a residential rehab facility for a month or longer. Even some outpatient services can require that you take time off to attend their programs, even though you are not residing at the facility during your treatment. You might worry about what taking this much time off can mean to your employer.

The Costs of Not Going to Rehab

When you consider going to long-term treatment for addiction, you might not think of what you could lose by not getting help. If you worry about losing your job for going to rehab, your addiction might continue to get worse. As your addiction gets worse, you might start calling out more frequently due to being hungover or tired. You might also struggle to stay sober on the job, leading to drug or alcohol use while at work.

If you deal with a hangover or cravings while at work, you might be more irritable than usual. Disagreements with your boss, customers, or co-workers can quickly escalate into heated arguments when you are agitated or in a bad mood without the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When your addiction gets out of control and your work performance or attitude suffers, you might increase your risk of getting fired. While your employer cannot fire you for being in recovery from addiction or getting treatment, they can terminate you if your addiction leads to poor work performance or other disciplinary problems on the job.

Going to Rehab Before Things Get Worse

When you go to rehab before problems on the job arise, you lower your chances of being terminated for behaviors that could lead to termination. Your employer cannot fire you for taking time off for drug or alcohol rehabilitation if you are proactive and get into treatment.

Going to rehab before things spiral out of control will save you time and money in the long run. If you wait until your addiction is unmanageable, you might risk getting fired along with disrupting relationships in your life, developing chronic health issues, and having costly legal problems.

Keeping Your Job While in Rehab

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), “[your] employer may not take action against [you] because [you have] exercised [your] right to take FMLA leave for substance abuse treatment.” Addiction is a chronic health issue. Leaving work for drug and alcohol rehab is the same as taking time off for physical health treatment, like chemotherapy or dialysis. 

If you do need to enter rehab for alcohol or drug abuse, keep the following tips in mind when talking to your employer:

  • Be open and honest with your employer about your issue and how you plan to deal with your addiction.
  • Talk to your human resources department about FMLA leave to ensure that you follow the law when taking time off for rehab.
  • See if you can use any additional paid time-off for rehab so that you can still have some money coming in to help keep you afloat.
  • Most insurance providers cover some or all of the costs of rehab; be sure to call your provider about coverage to help with the costs.
  • FMLA leave can only be taken when you enter rehab that is “provided by a health care provider or by a provider of health care services on referral by a health care provider.” Make sure that you are getting a referral from a qualified health care professional, like your family doctor or psychiatrist.
  • Some rehab facilities offer financial aid and payment options to help you if your insurance leaves you with some out-of-pocket costs.

By being honest about what is going on, your employer should be willing to work with you as you deal with your addiction. However, some employers might not be understanding and attempt to fire you anyway. Go through the proper channels before going to rehab and enter rehab before you have performance-related issues. You will be in a much better legal position if your employer attempts to discipline you for going to rehab.

Getting Drug and Alcohol Treatment While Working 

Inpatient and residential rehab can be challenging for people who cannot be away from home for long periods of time. Additionally, you might still need services to continue your treatment after leaving an inpatient rehab facility. If you cannot enter a residential facility or are continuing treatment afterward, you might consider intensive outpatient (IOP) or partial hospitalization programs (PHP).

During PHP and IOP programs, you do not need to live in your treatment facility and have more freedom. PHP and IOP could be good options if you need to continue working while receiving drug and alcohol treatment.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab in Denver, Colorado

Leaving work to enter drug and alcohol rehab at a qualified facility is protected by the law. However, not everyone can enter a long-term inpatient rehab facility. At Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado, we understand you might not be able to leave your home or job during your drug and alcohol treatment. Our outpatient services can offer you the flexibility you need to recover while maintaining your work, personal, and home life. Call us today at (833) 997-2060, or visit our admissions page to get started.