Making the decision to go to rehab for a drug abuse or addiction can be tough enough for those who may not fully realize they have a problem. However, that decision can be made even harder if there is a chance that you may not have your job after going to drug rehab. The good news is that there are laws in place that may enable you to keep your position upon your return from rehab.
The Family Medical Leave Act May Help You
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may enable you to come back to your old job at your same pay rate when you return from rehab. In many cases, your employer will be required to continue providing insurance coverage while you are gone. For those who are trying to get a friend or family member into drug rehab, this law may also protect you if you have to leave work to tend to the matter. If an employee needs to leave for intermittent drug rehab or because of issues related to drug treatment withdrawal, an employer will have to allow the time off.
Many Employers Want to Support Their Employees
Helping an employee get through a drug problem and become a productive worker or citizen is good PR for a company. Therefore, those who are willing to get help may find that their employers are more than willing to provide the necessary help. In some cases, drug rehab may be the first step an employer will encourage before terminating an employee for continued drug use that is affecting work ethics and performance. This means that you may not need to hide your problem from your boss or others at work if you are looking for help.
Where the Drugs are Used May Be Important
While an employer may be able to terminate an employee for using drugs, it may be harder to do if the drugs were used outside of work hours. The same may be true if drugs were not used on company property or employees were not under the influence of drugs while on company property. Most employers care about their reputation and worker productivity more than what a worker does on his or her time. Therefore, if an employee announces that he or she is going to drug rehab to get over a drug problem that didn’t impact job performance, it may be difficult for an employer to justify not allowing that particular employee to get help.
Does Your Company Have a Drug Policy?
If your company doesn’t have a drug policy, it may not be possible for an employer to terminate an employee due to seeking help for that drug problem. Furthermore, an employer may not be able to terminate an employee if he or she is seeking help for a drug that is not prohibited by the employer. However, it is always a good idea to talk to your HR representative or an employment law attorney if you are wondering if your employer could terminate you based on a drug policy that may or may not exist.
Those who are seeking treatment for a drug issue should not avoid seeking help simply due to fear of termination. Even if you are terminated, being clean and sober is a long-term solution to a problem that will allow you to stick with your next employer. However, there are plenty of laws and employment policies that will allow you to get help without fear of losing your job.