If I Go to Rehab, Will I Lose My Job?
Fear often blocks people from getting the life-saving help they need for a drug or alcohol addiction. Some are afraid they won’t either have the money to afford rehab or even succeed at rehab if they do get there. Some are afraid of what family and friends will think. Still others are afraid of getting in trouble at work or of losing their job.
Are you afraid of what your boss will think if you let him or her know you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction and want to get help? Are you afraid that you might even get fired if you admit to an addiction? If so, then read on because we have good news for you. You can and should get the help you need!
Legal Protection for Those with Addiction
Most people worry that entering rehab for an addiction will get them fired. However, a person cannot be fired for having a substance abuse or addiction problem, as stated under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the protection of this act, a person cannot be fired because of a diagnosis, whether it is diabetes, cancer, a mental health disorder, or an addiction disorder.
Even though you might naturally think your employer will try to fire you for having an addiction, the fact remains that most employers really do want to help their employees grow and be more successful. If that means the employee needs to enter drug or alcohol treatment, many employers will encourage the person to get the help they need.
Lighthouse Network’s Dr. Karl Benzio explains, “Firing someone causes the company to lose the investment it had in that employee, and also requires additional costs to find and train a new employee to take the fired one’s place. In the long run, it is more beneficial for the employer to help their current employees get and stay well so they can perform at their full potential, rather than to find a replacement. The employer also sends a clear, caring, and compassionate personal message to their team that employees aren’t robots and really matter to the employer.”
You Can be Fired for Poor Performance
An employee cannot be fired for having an addiction, but that doesn’t mean the employee can continue to work while hanging on to his or her addiction. You can be fired or disciplined for being caught using substances at work or being under the influence at work. You can be fired for not performing your duties or interfering with the performance of co-workers’ duties, even if you aren’t acutely under the influence. If you miss deadlines, call in sick too often, have a bad attitude, work too slowly, cannot concentrate or focus, or do not follow through on tasks, you can be disciplined or fired. Many people who are regularly using drugs or alcohol are not performing to a level which meets employers expectations, putting them in extreme jeopardy of losing their job.
Substances and a career don’t mix, and over time, your addiction will catch up with you so you can’t perform you job. You are risking your job and paycheck when you continue in your addiction to alcohol or substances. Most people make the mistake of trying to hide an addiction from their employer. Pretty soon, their behaviors get worse and then they get fired for not performing their job well enough. Now they have no insurance to get any real treatment and they have to pay the full fee for rehab out of their own pocket. They may only be able to afford to a few days of detox, which isn’t long enough to cause real change.
Staying Employed Can Help You during Recovery
The best option is for the struggling addict to be honest with their employer about their addiction and go to treatment while they still have a job. This dramatically improves the chances of a successful recovery. This is because having a job to go back to can help motivate the person during recovery as hope is increased by having a place to live and being able to pay the bills because the job and consistent paycheck are still in place. Having a job is also important because it provides insurance so the person can get the best treatment at the least out-of-pocket expense. Insurance also helps pay for follow-up outpatient individual and couples/family therapy. This longer treatment will help the person make real changes in their life, health, and attitude, which will allow them to achieve sustained recovery.
Dr. Benzio encourages you to get the help you need, so that you can live up to your full potential as a person, as a worker, and as a follower of Christ. “If you are concerned about your job and want to continue working, then get help for your addiction,” said Dr. Benzio. “Treatment will help you change your behaviors and attitude toward life, give you a more positive outlook on your future, and help you become the person and employee God wants you to be.”
When you dial 1-877-562-2565, you are connected with a trained Lighthouse Network Care Guide who will listen to your story, answer your questions, and find your best treatment options available.
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