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Can You Get Fired For Going To Rehab?

People who work full-time jobs are often worried about this. People struggling with addiction, particularly to illegal drugs, always ask this question, but many give up before they can find the answer. Often, they don't want their family, friends, and co-workers to judge them.

You can indeed undergo addiction treatment without quitting or losing your job. Seeking assistance can potentially prevent damage to your professional life, allowing for a smoother process when returning to work.

Your work efficiency might have deteriorated due to alcohol consumption or a substance abuse problem. If your boss can demonstrate that your productivity has decreased, they have the right to terminate your employment.

Choosing an alcohol treatment program early can prevent you from being fired by your employer. This is especially important if you have made previous mistakes or have had poor job performance. Your employer has the right to conduct drug tests. It's advisable to talk to your employer, take a leave of absence and enroll in a drug rehabilitation center as soon as possible.

Getting Help When You Need It

If substance or alcohol abuse is leading to issues at work, it's advisable to seek assistance promptly to avoid further deterioration. Losing your main income stream could potentially intensify your addiction due to financial stress. If your work performance is declining, you might fear job loss due to rehabilitation. It's important to evaluate if any behavioral changes could be attributed to a substance or alcohol use disorder.

​Changes in your or your loved one's behaviors could mean they have a problem with drugs or alcohol and should consider seeking treatment. The following are a few examples:

  • ​Poor work performance or missing many days of work consistently.

  • Conflict with friends, family, employers, and co-workers, there are fights and arguments all the time.

  • Drinking alcohol or taking drugs while at work or in other dangerous ways can be tricky (like driving under the influence).

  • Being secretive or vague about what you do.

  • A lack of drive.

  • Problems with going to sleep (either too much or too little).

  • Changes in attitude and mood swings happen all the time.

  • Food tastes different.

  • Overthinking, being afraid, or being paranoid for no reason.

If you or a person you value alters their conduct at the workplace, it could result in job loss. Individuals who consume alcohol or use drugs might engage in conflicts with colleagues or waste work hours due to irresponsible behavior while intoxicated. If they fail to tackle their drug or alcohol misuse, these issues could lead to their dismissal.

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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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Rehab for Drug Abuse and Work-Related Jobs

Seeking assistance for a substance abuse issue isn't always straightforward. There are addiction treatment centers scattered across the United States. Despite the numerous treatment options available, finding help for your addiction can be a daunting task.

Healthcare experts frequently suggest residential therapy to individuals who are employed. This is a prevalent issue among those struggling with addiction. Prior to attending a rehabilitation program for addiction, it's crucial to understand how to handle the situation to protect your employment. There are numerous regulations that need to be adhered to in order to maintain your healthcare insurance and job.

​Knowing what happens after treatment and how each state pays for medical care is critical. The stigma around mental health issues can be hard to overcome. But you can feel more stable in your work and life by overcoming it and moving toward recovery. There are a lot of federal laws that protect you.

ADA was Signed Into Law in 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says employers can't fire workers for using vacation or sick leave to get medical help. If you have maintained sobriety at work and wish to attend rehab, your active participation in the treatment serves as a valid reason for protection. The ADA ruling does not grant additional time off work. You can ensure job security by finding a treatment center that aligns with your schedule and days off.

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Rehabilitation Act of 1973

As amended, the Rehabilitation Act doesn't allow people with disabilities to be discriminated against in programs run by federal agencies, in programs that get money from the government, in national jobs, and in the positions of federal contractors.

​The Workplace Investment Act (WIA) of 1998

It's a federal law that helps people get jobs and keep them through statewide and local workforce investment systems.


This law stops patient health information from being shared without their permission or knowledge by setting national standards. The HHS created the HIPAA Privacy Rule to ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations. The HIPAA Security Rule protects some of the information that the Privacy Rule does not.


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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

If you are a full-time worker in a company with more than 50 employees, you can qualify for FMLA and take up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave, provided a valid reason.

You can take 12 weeks off work without pay for medical reasons if you have a good reason under FMLA. You can go to rehab for substance abuse treatment without worrying about losing your job by taking time off work.

FMLA ensures that you have the opportunity to prioritize your health and well-being while still maintaining job security. It is important to note that while FMLA guarantees your job protection during your leave, it does not require your employer to provide paid leave.

​The Fair Housing Act of 1968

​Because of their race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status, or national origin, people can't be discriminated against from obtaining homeowners' insurance. People addicted to drugs or alcohol can do certain things because of this law.

While the Fair Housing Act does not specifically address individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol, it does protect individuals with disabilities. Some substance use disorders can be seen as disabilities in certain situations. According to the law, people with these disorders may have rights to accommodations or protections.

It's important to consult legal professionals or resources specific to your jurisdiction for accurate and up-to-date information regarding discrimination laws and protections for individuals with substance use disorders.

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Getting help when you need it
Rehab for drug abuse and work-related jobs
Rehabilitation act of 1973
Americans with Disabilities Act
The family and medical leave act (FMLA)
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