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Can I Get My Job Back After Rehab?

The physical and psychological strain of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) rehabilitation may be frightening. SUD or AUD's toll on your work performance makes it hard to hide the condition from your loved ones and colleagues for long. Still, it worsens when you are unsure whether your job will be waiting for you when you return from rehab.

At Rolling Hills Recovery Center, our professional team is committed to helping you receive all the treatment and rehabilitation you may need to recover from your SUD or AUD fully.

How Secure Is My Job If I Choose To Go To Rehab?

You may be worried and scared of seeking SUD or AUD treatment since you may not be able to provide for your loved ones during the treatment and rehabilitation period. You may also avoid seeking treatment because your employer may fire you if you attend rehab.

It is in your best interest to seek treatment because SUD or AUD negatively affects your performance at home and work. You will likely be more productive when you recover from your addiction. You may hold on to your job, secure a better job, and have a better quality of life.

The best option that assures you of employment after rehab is, to be honest with yourself and your employer. Identify and admit that you need SUD or AUD treatment. Explain to your employer why you need to take a medical leave to attend treatment at a rehab facility.


You may also need to "put your house in order," i.e., ensure all your work tasks and responsibilities are completed and coordinate with your colleagues to take care of any tasks in your absence.

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Legal Protection While at Rehab

By now, you may have ascertained that seeking recovery at a rehab facility is very hard due to factors including work and family. Your employer may have drug-free workplace laws, but the law protects you and others in SUD or AUD recovery; hence your employer can't fire you if you go to rehab.

Some of the laws that protect you include;

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 protects you if you are in SUD or AUD recovery from discrimination in the workplace. A doctor-diagnosed Substance Use Disorder (SUD) or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is considered a disability in this act. You are therefore protected from discrimination by your employer if you decide to receive treatment.


If you feel your employer discriminates against you because you have gone to rehab, you can file a discrimination case against them with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This law applies to all employers, including private firms with 15 employees and above.

Some of the discriminations the ADA protects you from include:

  • Your employer refuses to hire or promote you because you attended rehab or have previously sought help for a SUD or AUD.

  • Your employer is firing you for attending SUD or AUD treatment now or in the past.

  • Your employer is firing or refusing to hire or promote you because of your history of  AUD or substance misuse.

Rolling Hills Recovery Center offers free 24/7 addiction support. Call today and confidentially speak with our addiction specialists at 855-559-8550.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (passed in 1993) warrants you - an employee of a covered employer, to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with the continuation of group health insurance coverage. The conditions must remain the same as though you had not taken a leave of absence.

If you are eligible, you are entitled to 12 workweeks of leave annually for:

  • The birth of your child and care for the newborn.

  • You foster or adopt a child and care for the adopted or fostered child.

  • You care for your spouse, child, or parent suffering from a critical health condition.

  • Your health condition, if the condition deters you from efficiently carrying out your work assignments.

  • Any qualifying difficulty arising from your spouse, son, daughter, or parent who is a covered military member on "covered active duty."

  • Treatment for alcohol and substance use disorder.

  • You are seeking treatment for a disease such as liver failure caused by SUD or AUD.

  • Care for parents, children, and close relatives who require treatment for a SUD or substance-use-related health condition.


Under the FMLA, your employer cannot demote, fire, or refuse a promotion. You are entitled to this when you utilize your leave.

If you qualify, FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid—non-reimbursable—leave for you to seek treatment for a SUD or AUD or to help a loved one struggling with SUD or AUD without being fired. It allows access to group healthcare benefits to help cover treatment costs and resets annually.

You can make a confidential call to Rolling Hills Recovery Center and speak privately with our patient navigators, who can help you determine what your healthcare benefits cover.

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How Do You Know Whether You Are Eligible Under FMLA

You are entitled to take an FMLA leave only if you are an eligible employee. The following factors are considered before being warranted eligibility as an employee:

  • You work for a covered employer.

  • You have worked for the employer for at least one year.

  • You have offered at least 1250 hours of service to the employer during the 12 months immediately preceding the leave.

  • Your employer has 50 employees, including you, who reside within 75 miles of the work site.


It is best to follow the correct procedure, i.e., the formal FMLA process for requesting a leave of absence. Your employer can not deny you the leave to seek treatment.

Also, they can not fire or demote you for seeking treatment. If you meet these criteria, you can't be fired for going to rehab by simply taking an FMLA leave of absence.

This law does not protect you if you don't follow the procedure or ask for FMLA leave after entering the treatment facility.


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Getting your job back after rehab is possible if you are qualified for FMLA and take the proper steps while taking a leave of absence from work. Contact our professional staff at Rolling Hills Recovery Center for SUD or AUD rehab. Our team offers advice, treatment, and services that ensure long-lasting recovery for all your conditions. Your job should not obstruct your treatment and recovery in any manner. You can still get your job back after rehab.

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Legal protection while at rehab
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
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