Do I Have to Tell My Employer I’m Receiving Substance Abuse Treatment?
20 July, 2022
Speaking with your employer about your addiction can be very uncomfortable. If you have been suffering from a substance use disorder (SUD), the people you work with probably already know something is wrong.
When you approach your employer about addiction, it might not come as a surprise. More importantly, talking to your employer about your addiction is the best way to make it possible to receive treatment without losing your job.
There are options for you to receive care regardless of your employment situation. Talking to your employer will ensure you can consider all the resources and opportunities available to get the help you need. Avoiding rehab will only further compromise your employment. As your addiction worsens, your job performance will eventually take a toll, jeopardizing your career and finances.
Tips for Talking to Your Employer
When considering speaking with your employer about needing treatment, your most significant concern might be that you will be fired for having a SUD. However, firing you because you have an addiction is illegal.
SUDs are considered a qualifying condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), meaning an employer cannot fire you for having an addiction or seeking treatment. Although, your employer can fire you if you use drugs or alcohol while at work. Discontinuing usage is crucial to ensure you can keep your job.
When you are talking to your employer about needing treatment, it is essential to be completely honest. They do not need to know all the details but attempting to sugarcoat the conversation by saying you do not feel well, or you need some time off will prevent your employer from being able to give you the help you need.
Additionally, it is important to relay to your employer that you have a plan for seeking treatment and that you need their help and support while recovering. Your employer may be willing to accommodate you without needing to use federal programs that have been put into place to assist those with SUDs.
Even if you do not expect support from your employer, you will never know what they can do for you unless you ask.
Options for Seeking Treatment
If your employer is unwilling to make arrangements for you while seeking treatment, you may be covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA can cover you while seeking substance abuse treatment because SUD is a qualifying mental health condition.
While FMLA is unpaid, it is still an excellent option if you are seeking care at inpatient treatment because most inpatient rehab programs last thirty to ninety days. FMLA will give you the time to detox and start taking steps to rebuild your life.
In an inpatient treatment facility, you will be in an environment free from drugs and alcohol and have 24/7 care to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings as you detox. Additionally, you will receive therapy to help you work through any traumatic events, negative thoughts, or behavior patterns that contributed to your addiction.
Before you take leave, you must notify your employer. If you do not, you risk losing your job.
If you are still worried about your finances, you can also speak to an admissions counselor at an inpatient treatment facility. Admissions counselors have years of experience helping people navigate their finances to ensure they get the treatment they need. After speaking to an admissions counselor, you may consider starting treatment at an outpatient facility if you still do not feel that inpatient treatment is financially feasible.
Inpatient Treatment Won’t Work for Me. Is There Another Option?
Not all addictions are alike. If you are struggling with a SUD, you might have mild to moderate symptoms, and may not need 24/7 care. In these cases, outpatient treatment may be an excellent option.
An outpatient program allows you to receive care while still attending to other responsibilities, including part-time employment. In outpatient treatment, you would visit the facility twice a week based on what fits your schedule best. At the facility, you will receive the same benefits that you would get from an inpatient setting.
If your outpatient addiction center offers medication-assisted treatment, you will still be given medications under the supervision of trained medical professionals to help you detox and ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Counselors will still be present and provide group and individual therapy, as well as medications to ease any underlying mental health concerns.
Since you will not always be at the facility, you will have more opportunities to relapse, which can be detrimental to your recovery if you are not ready to handle that level of independence. It is important to be honest about your needs for recovery and not let fears of losing your job keep you from choosing a treatment plan that will help you the most in the long term.
The Forge Recovery Center Will Help You Through the Tough Conversations with Your Employer
At The Forge Recovery Center, we know that talking to your employer about your addiction can be scary, especially if you are worried about losing your job. However, telling your employer you need treatment is often the best decision in the long run. Avoiding talking to your employer and failing to get help may prolong your addiction, which will increase the consequences you face. You may end up losing your job, damaging relationships, or find yourself in financial and legal trouble if you use on the job.
Although it may be overwhelming to talk to your employer, it is often a crucial first step to living a happy or healthier life. If you need help navigating a conversation with your employer about seeking treatment, contact The Forge Recovery Center today!