Can Your Job Fire You for Going to Rehab?
Going to rehab for drug or alcohol abuse is often seen as one of the first steps to recovery. But many workers are worried about taking this important step in case it has an effect on their job.
If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol issues, it’s important to know the legal rights that protect you from being fired simply for going to rehab.
Do I Have the Right to Go to Rehab?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects workers with substance use disorders as a disability. This means that if you have an addiction and are seeking help, you are protected by the same laws as an individual with a physical disability.
It’s illegal for your employer to deny you reasonable accommodation such as leave of absence to attend rehab. You are also protected from being pressured to accept a leave of absence or any other adverse action, such as termination.
Does My Company Have to Provide Insurance Coverage for Rehab?
Your company may be required to offer substance abuse treatment benefits through their insurance program. According to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), any employer that chooses to provide insurance coverage for mental health conditions must also provide coverage for addiction/substance abuse disorders.
What are Other Protections for Employees in Rehab?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees struggling with addiction to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave from the workplace to seek treatment. If the company you work for has more than 50 employees, FMLA likely applies to you.
Another important law is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This regulates hours and wages, and it also protects employees from being fired if they are absent from work due to a medical disability, including rehab. This means that your time away from work to attend rehab is protected and employers can’t punish you for taking the time off.
Going to rehab is a brave and important step in recovery, and it’s important to know your legal rights in case your job might be impacted. You have rights to protect you, and you can’t be fired or punished for seeking addiction treatment.
It’s also important to seek support from your loved ones and seek professional help to find the best treatment program for you.
Remember: You can’t be fired for going to rehab!