You may be ready to enter addiction treatment, but worried doing so could cost you your job. Fortunately, there are legal protections that allow you to attend substance use disorder treatment without worrying about job security.
Any business with 50 or more employees, and public agency or school with any number of employees, is covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of leave for several specified reasons. Addiction treatment is one of those reasons, because it is considered a serious health condition.
In order to qualify for FMLA, you must have worked at your current place of employment for at least 12 months. This doesn’t have to be consecutive—so seasonal work counts—as long as there is not a break in service of more than seven years. You also must have worked for at least 1,250 hours during that 12-month period.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is another protection against being fired for attending treatment. The act prohibits most employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against people based on their disabilities; under the ADA, addiction is considered a disability because it impairs ability to function.
However, current drug or alcohol use is not protected under the ADA. In most cases, it does protect employees from being fired for attending treatment.
Many companies offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), which provide free counseling, assessments, and resources. EAPs can connect you to an appropriate addiction treatment facility. If you are unsure what types of policies your job offers, read your new hire paperwork or contact human resources.
People are much more likely to lose their job if they actively use substances than if they seek help for addiction. Using drugs and alcohol can make you unpredictable, more likely to make mistakes, unable to show up for work on time, or any number of other behaviors that affect your ability to do your job. When you seek help for your addiction and enter recovery, you are much more likely to thrive in your career.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. We understand that addiction affects your whole life, so we offer support that treats you as a whole person. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.