It’s a scary and confusing time when you decide you want help with your drug and alcohol addiction. One of the biggest fears people have is that they might lose their job if they seek treatment. The impact that substance abuse has on your job performance, as well as your family, are essential factors to consider. Seeking treatment may have a negative stigma at the workplace and impact your household income.
The fear of losing your job or getting repercussions from management may keep you from getting the help you need. Most companies have strict policies regarding drug and alcohol use on the job. You can lose your job without hesitation if you come to work impaired. So, it’s only natural that you might wonder if you will be fired for seeking treatment from an addiction issue.
The Family and Medical Leave Act Can Help
If you’ve been employed by the company for at least 12 months consecutively, you can use FMLA time to seek treatment. The U.S. Department of Labor established this program in 1993 to help workers who need time to recover from an illness. You can take up to 12 weeks off and get the treatment you need, and your employer cannot retaliate. Remember that this time off will be unpaid, but you will have a job to return to.
If you qualify, you only need to fill out the appropriate forms, and you will need to have a doctor verify your need to be off work. Some restrictions come into play, such as your company must have at least 50 employees to use this Act. Additionally, if the company has a clear policy against drug or alcohol abuse that states you can be fired for such treatment, they can terminate you. However, most don’t have a policy against treatment but working impaired.
Finding Protection Through the Americans with Disabilities Act
Your employer cannot discriminate against you if you have a substance abuse issue. Indeed, some companies have discriminatory practices against addiction. Using the ADA to help you is tricky, as the employer has the right to drug test, prohibit employees from using such substances, and fire you. Consequently, if you’re participating in a treatment program, are clean, and have a previous history, the ADA states that no employer can discriminate against you. Did you know that alcoholism is considered a disability? You will find the ADA will protect you from this ailment. You’re required to be held to the same standards as everyone else on the job, but they cannot fire you because you have an issue if it’s not affecting your performance.
Job Termination and Addiction
Sadly, there are instances when you can be fired for your addiction. If your job performance is unsatisfactory, or you call off a lot because of issues related to your substance abuse, it can cause you to lose your job. You’ll be fired due to your performance and not your addiction. Your employer may not even know you have such an issue, but they have a right to let you go due to subpar work. Now, if your work quality is still good, you’re not calling off all the time, and you’re a dedicated employee, things are different. You have a right to go to HR and request time off for medical leave
. They cannot fire you if you tell them you need time off for drug and alcohol treatment. Addiction has become so commonplace in this country that many employers would rather you seek treatment than continue down this dangerous path. However, there will always be a few that look at you differently for having an addiction, and they think it will eventually affect your job performance.
Treatment and Your Job
Our treatment specialists want to help you find the right facility for your needs. Whether you have a mental illness fueling your substance abuse, or you’re struggling because you fear losing your job doesn’t matter. Our caring staff can find the best treatment match for your situation using our network. Protections are available to ensure you don’t lose your job if you have a mental health disorder or a substance abuse issue. The key is to get the treatment you need right away. Contact us today at 833-846-5669 for more information.