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Can You Get Fired for Going to Rehab?

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Deciding to go to rehab for your substance use disorder is an essential first step. However, some people are concerned about whether they will have a job after completing rehab and often ask, “Can you get fired for going to rehab?”

A young woman concerned about issues like "Can you get fired for going to rehab?", while receiving support from friends to begin treatment.

Do I Have to Tell My Employer I am Going to Rehab?

Can I get fired for going to rehab? That’s a legit question. However, if you’re wondering how to go to rehab without losing your job, you can breathe easy. Generally, you do not even have to tell your employer you are going to rehab. It is none of their business as to the reason why you requested time off, whether you are using personal time, vacation time, sick time, or decide to take a leave of absence due to medical reasons. 

In addition, your employer cannot force you to tell them why you need the time off. However, suppose your employer requires a medical note. In that case, you can have your doctor or the treatment center where you will receive treatment provide a generic note stating you need the time off due to a personal medical reason. 

However, suppose your job requires you to work with or around drugs and alcohol. In that case, you may want to inform your employer after you return from rehab so they can accommodate any special needs or restrictions related to your recovery. If this is the case, you may choose to go ahead and tell your employer you’re going to rehab.

How to Tell Your Employer You Are Going to Rehab

While telling your employer you’re going to rehab is not required, in some situations it’s for the best. When wondering how to tell your employer you are going to rehab, know that you should approach the conversation with honesty and professionalism.

Schedule a private meeting with your employer or human resources representative to discuss the matter confidentially. Begin by expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to work with the company and your commitment to your role.

Then, calmly explain that you’re facing personal challenges that require immediate attention, specifically mentioning your decision to seek rehabilitation to address these issues.

If you’re not sure how to go to rehab without losing your job, assure them of your dedication to your job and willingness to work with them to ensure a smooth transition during your absence. Emphasize your desire to return to work after completing rehabilitation, and inquire about any procedures or documentation required for taking medical leave.

Overall, maintaining open communication and a positive attitude can help foster understanding and support from your employer during this challenging time.

Can You Get Fired for Going to Rehab?

It’s totally natural to ask, “Can my job fire me for going to rehab? You’ll be relieved to know that employers cannot fire you for going to rehab. Treating addiction is considered a chronic medical condition. As such, your employer cannot end your employment by seeking medical care for your medical condition. 

However, employers may fire employees when there is a legitimate reason, such as constantly showing up late, missing too much work, or not performing one’s job duties. So, if your substance use affects your work performance, your employer could theoretically terminate you. Yet, they cannot directly fire you for wanting to go to rehab.

Additionally, some jobs may require random alcohol and drug testing or mandatory testing when there is an accident. So, if you violate a company policy or fail alcohol and drug testing, your employer could choose to terminate you. 

Therapist addressing questions such as "Can you get fired for going to rehab?" and encouraging man to start addiction recovery along with his wife.

How to Keep a Professional Reputation While in Rehab

Maintaining a professional reputation with an employer through rehab requires a delicate balance of transparency, communication, and commitment to recovery. Firstly, it’s crucial to communicate openly and honestly with your employer about your need for rehab. While this conversation may feel daunting, providing your employer with honest information about your situation can help dispel misunderstandings.

During your time in rehab, stay connected with your employer and colleagues, to the extent possible. This will help maintain a sense of continuity and professionalism. Keeping lines of communication open through updates reassures your employer of your dedication to your job despite your temporary absence.

Sticking to your treatment program and demonstrating progress in your recovery journey further bolsters your credibility. You’re showing your employer that you’re actively working towards improvement.

Upon returning to work, approach the transition with professionalism and humility. Acknowledge any challenges you may have faced during your absence. Express gratitude for your support, and reassure your employer of your commitment to your job.

What Laws Protect My Job When I Go to Rehab?

So, can you get fired for going to rehab? Several laws protect your job when you go to rehab, including: 

  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): This law protects your job when you take time off to go to rehab by providing up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for specific family and medical reasons, including going to rehab. You may be eligible if you have worked at least 1,250 hours for an employer with at least 50 employees during the past year. 
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): This law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the workplace. Suppose you are going to rehab due to an addiction considered a disability under the ADA. In that case, your employer must make reasonable accommodations for your treatment and recovery unless doing so would cause an undue hardship on the employer’s operations. 
  • State Laws: Many states have laws that protect employees from discrimination based on their use of alcohol or drugs as part of a medical treatment program such as drug rehabilitation. These state laws typically provide additional protection beyond federal laws such as FMLA or ADA, so checking your state laws before entering rehab is essential.

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Returning to Work After Rehab

Going back to work after completing a rehabilitation program requires careful planning and consideration to ensure a successful transition. Firstly, it’s essential to communicate openly and honestly with your employer about your rehabilitation journey and your intentions to return to work.

Discuss any necessary accommodations or adjustments needed to support your reintegration process, such as flexible work hours or reduced workload initially. Prioritize self-care by maintaining a healthy routine, including regular exercise, adequate sleep, and mindfulness practices to manage stress.

Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself, gradually increasing your workload as you regain confidence and strength. Utilize support systems such as colleagues, friends, or support groups to navigate challenges and stay motivated.

Recovery is a continuous journey. Seeking ongoing professional help or counseling can be instrumental in maintaining your well-being as you reintegrate back into the workforce.

Woman greeting her boss and asking questions like "Can you get fired for going to rehab?".

Can My Employer Find Out I Am In Rehab?

Unless you tell your employer or a co-worker that overly gossips, your employer cannot easily find out you are in rehab. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that protects your personal health information from being shared without your consent. 

If you’re concerned and wondering “What if my employer finds out?” or “Can I get fired for going to rehab?”, know that any information about attending rehab, such as records of check-ins or treatments, must remain confidential unless you authorize its release. Your employer cannot access this information without your permission. This is the case even if they pay for the treatment through a company-sponsored health insurance plan. 

Additionally, HIPAA requires healthcare providers to use secure methods to store and transmit all protected health information, so it is not possible for employers to obtain the data through other means.

Can a Small Business Get Me Fired for Going to Rehab?

Can you get fired for going to rehab if you work for a small business? While the FMLA will not apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the ADA can still protect your job. Suppose you have an addiction that is a disability under the ADA. In that case, your employer must make reasonable accommodations for your treatment and addiction recovery unless doing so would cause an undue hardship on the employer’s operations.

There may also be state laws that protect your job when you go to rehab. You can learn more by doing some research or talking to the intake specialist at the rehab center. 

What If My Employer Fired Me for Going to Rehab?

If your employer does fire you for going to rehab, they may be in violation of the FMLA, ADA, or state laws. It is best to consult an attorney specializing in employment law to determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit. Most attorneys offer a free consultation, so it costs nothing to get legal advice. 

You Shouldn’t Worry About Going to Rehab and Getting Fired

It is important not to let the fear of losing your job prevent you from seeking help for an addiction. It’s common to be uncertain and ask yourself questions like “Can my job fire me for going to rehab?”. However, addiction is a life-threatening condition requiring professional treatment and specialized therapies to achieve long-term recovery. 

There are laws in place that protect your job while you are receiving treatment. It is crucial to understand what protections are available before entering rehab. Remember, getting help for an addiction ultimately leads to improved work performance and greater career success in the long run.

A man talking to an expert about employee rights and clarifying his doubts, such as "Can you get fired for going to rehab?".

Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery in Murfreesboro, TN 

At Tulip Hill, we offer comprehensive substance use disorder treatment and recovery services in Murfreesboro, TN. Our experienced team provides personalized treatment plans and care to meet the needs of each individual. We’re also here to answer any questions you may have, such as “Can you get fired for going to rehab?” and others. We understand that addiction can be a difficult journey. However, with the right support system in place, it is possible to make lasting changes. Contact us today to start your treatment and learn more about our programs.

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