- Sep 11
Many people work their whole lives to build a career and get to the top of their profession only to have an addiction to drugs or alcohol threaten everything. You may be scared to admit you have a problem. You may be wondering if you can be fired for entering an addiction treatment program.
If you or your loved one is avoiding treatment because you’re afraid of losing your job, this post will explain the protections afforded to you under the law and the risk you take by not getting help.
Can My Employer Fire Me for Going to Rehab?
Your employer cannot fire you if you make the brave decision to seek treatment. In fact, not seeking help for addiction can impact your career as the effects of drugs or alcohol will undoubtedly impact the quality of your work.
Those addicted to drugs or alcohol have employee rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects recovering addicts from being discriminated against in the workplace. You can even file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if you’re ever penalized for attending treatment.
The Family and Medical Leave Act allows those who qualify to take 12 unpaid workweeks to pursue treatment for alcohol or drug use. Your employer is required to keep the reason for your leave confidential.
How Drug and Alcohol Use Can Destroy Your Career
While seeking help cannot get you fired, addiction is a serious disease that impacts nearly every area of your life, including your career. That means you can get fired for being an alcoholic if you don’t get treatment and it’s noticeably impacting your work.
Addiction to drugs or alcohol is likely affecting your performance at work. This could include:
- Falling behind on responsibilities
- Decreased productivity
- Missing days
- Inability to focus
- Trouble managing work-related stress
- Drinking or using drugs on the job
The worst impact on your future career potential happens when you are charged or convicted of an offense related to substance use. All drug and alcohol-related charges will show up on background and criminal checks whenever you apply for a job or seek new employment paths. If you can get help for substance addiction as soon as possible, you can save your job and keep your career possibilities open.
Can I Get in Trouble With the Law for Revealing My Illegal Drug Problem?
If you are struggling with addiction, you may be wondering if you can tell your doctor about your illegal drug use. Can you get in trouble for buying and using drugs in the past?
Everything you say to a medical professional, therapist or counselor must be kept completely confidential. Asking for help takes a lot of courage, and you don’t need the added worry of legal consequences associated with addiction.
Discover a Brighter Future at Gateway Foundation
While it may seem better to hide your addiction and pretend like nothing is wrong, the truth is bound to come out. You are more likely to keep your job and improve your ability to get hired if you return to work healthier, more focused and better equipped.
At Gateway Foundation, we want to help. Let our team provide you with a personalized treatment program to address your unique needs. Contact us today to learn how you can overcome addiction’s hold on your life.