Can I Keep My Job While I’m in Rehab?

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Most people who are addicted to substances have jobs and pay taxes. However, getting high on the job, before you come to work, or even after you leave the office can have a severe impact on your career, reputation, and safety. Drug rehabilitation might be your last chance in keeping your job.

76% of substance addicts are actively employed. However, many staff members who have an addiction bypass treatment, as they are worried about losing their jobs. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights claims that 10 to 25% of the workforce in America has shown up for work under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Most staff with a substance issue might attempt to conceal their addiction and keep working, risking damage to their careers even further. Getting help for an addiction to a substance is important for the professional success of an employee, and most often, employers tend to help valued staff with their recovery.

Job Performance is Impacted by Substance Abuse

Employers are troubled by workplace substance abuse issues. Staff working under the influence of alcohol or drugs are generally less productive, more expensive to employers, and can create harmful scenarios for themselves or other staff members. Employees suffering from alcohol or drug abuse are 3.5 times more inclined to be a part of an accident at the workplace and have health care expenses that are twice as much as the expenses of other employees.

Staff with addictions to substances additionally:

  • Have 1.5 times more sick days than those without substance issues.
  • Use double the amount of benefits those without substance issues do.
  • Are two times more inclined to file a claim for workers’ compensation.
  • Are more inclined to conduct non-work related activities during work hours, arrive late, take longer breaks or lunches, sleep on the job, leave early, perform work tasks poorly, and be absent from work.

Our drug rehabilitation treatments are based on successful programs that provide long-term sobriety solutions.

Symptoms of Workplace Substance Abuse

Substance abuse activities can affect how your peers and bosses see you as a fellow staff member and can inhibit your capacity to progress your career or hold onto the job you have. Symptoms that substance abuse could be impacting your performance on the job involve:

  • Issues completing work tasks.
  • Performance problems.
  • Sick days because of substance abuse.
  • Difficult relationships with your superiors or co-workers.
  • Changing companies frequently/Unable to maintain a job.
  • Lateness concerns.

Continuous behaviors like the ones listed above can harm your reputation at work and inevitably cost you your job. Federal law protects staff in an effort to develop a drug-free work habitat. If you fail a drug test or are caught abusing alcohol or drugs, chances are you’ll be fired on the spot.

In spite of the stigma that comes with substance abuse, drug rehabilitation can get you back on the right path in order to preserve your job and progress towards a successful career. For staff who desire treatment and value their positions, there are several treatment services and programs available.

EAPS (Employee Assistance Programs)

The country pays about $276 billion annually in substance addiction expenses, usually allocated to health care fees and lost work productivity. It is more cost-efficient to offer treatment and rehabilitate an employee who is addicted to substances than it is to fire and replace them. As such, most employers prefer to offer EAPs (EAPs).

EAPs offer several choices and services for those suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues, many of which are conducted in-person, on-site, or over the phone. Research indicates that employers who finance EAPs obtain a return of 12 to 1 for each dollar invested in the program. For example, the Gillette Company noticed a decrease in in-patient substance abuse treatment expenses by as much as 75% upon developing an EAP for the company.

EAPs let employers assist staff prone to substance abuse, which decreases expenses and turnover times, and increases the morale of employees without suffering a loss in productivity, which could occur by outright terminating an employee for their addiction to substances.

Keep Your Job and Receive Treatment

Most drug rehab facilities and programs for treatment are developed to let users remain employed and usually work in association with EAPs via referrals for the purpose of helping staff obtain a successful recovery. Several rehab programs let those in recovery continue to work as they receive treatment. Others mandate a leave of absence from work for the employee so they can give their rehabilitation their full commitment and attention.

Treatment Programs for Outpatients

Treatment programs for outpatients offer staff members the chance to get help from the comfort of their own homes or in a sober housing environment that is sponsored by the facility. Such programs allow the patient to keep their jobs and maintain their day-to-day duties. Most outpatient programs feature between 1 and 3 days of clinical treatment each week, while the rest of the work week is dedicated to their jobs.

Treatment Programs for Inpatients

Treatment programs for inpatients require employees to leave the work environment so they can concentrate exclusively on their recovery. That said, most inpatient programs will collaborate with people to accommodate their work-related needs. Efficient in-patient programs endeavor to help patients become adjusted to treatment in several ways, including offering additional computer access or more time for phone calls related to the job.

Treatment Program for Professionals

The worries that come with high-stress careers can stimulate the need to abuse substances. Professionals holding demanding positions have access to treatment programs customized to their requirements. Professional programs consist of common and specialty treatment groups that focus on the individual troubles that might trigger drug use. Facilities that provide these programs generally collaborate with professionals to offer a plan that adapts to their physical and mental health requirements in conjunction with their job-related commitments.

More Services

Facility admission groups collaborate with people coming into treatment to isolate any issues they might be suffering with. Case managers will additionally act on the behalf of clients to help with job-related and legal tasks. They will also keep employers abreast of an employee’s progress.


For staff who need help or job seekers in recovery, legal protections exist to protect you from job discrimination.

FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act)

The Family and Medical Leave Act was enforced to protect an individual’s job status when they require a leave of absence to care for an ill family member or to treat a specific medical condition. Alcoholism is one of the many medical conditions that qualify. Staff can only take FML (Family Medical Leave) to receive treatment if it is part of an EAP or after it has been referred or offered by a health care provider. The FMLA allows staff to take a leave of absence to obtain alcohol abuse treatment or care for a member of the family without consequence from their employer. To qualify for FML, an employee must have been employed by the company for at least 12 months or worked 1,250 hours or more.

Under the FMLA, an employer with a substance-free, nondiscriminatory workplace policy that each employee understands thoroughly can fire an employee who violates the agreement for substance abuse (but not alcohol). That said, most employers opt to help employees with an addiction problem and help them obtain the resources necessary to help them recover instead of outright terminating them.

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

The ADA allows employers to develop a substance-free workplace that adheres to federal law while additionally offering specific protections to staff with alcohol use disorders that qualify.

Under the ADA:


  • Employees using illegal drugs are not regarded as “individuals with a disability.”
  • Recovering employees might need to adhere to the same conduct and performance standards that have been established for other employees.
  • Employees might need to adhere to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and guidelines established by federal agencies with regards to alcohol and drug use in a work environment.


  • Employers can take action based on the use of illegal substances by an employee.
  • Employers can’t discriminate against employees with a substance addiction history who have rehabilitated or aren’t using drugs at the moment.
  • Employers have the right to ban the illegal use of alcohol or drugs at work.
  • Employers can legally conduct illegal drug tests on employees.
  • Employers can deny employment to a job seeker or fire an employee caught using illegal drugs.

Eligible people who meet specific criteria are covered by ADA employee protections. Such qualifications consist of employees who:

  • No longer engage in illegal substance use and who have been rehabilitated successfully.
  • No longer engage in illegal substance use and are currently in a rehabilitation program.
  • Are improperly categorized as an existing substance abuser.

Such protections aren’t applicable to recreational drug users.

As per ADA protections, employers cannot ask job seekers if they partake in alcohol, drugs, or have been in rehab before.

For employees wrestling with substance abuse issues, obtaining treatment may save your job and preserve your reputation. In addition to being illegal, workplace substance abuse can produce hazardous scenarios for other employees as well as yourself. If you or someone you know is having a substance abuse issue, check to see if EAPs are available, or consult an HR representative within the company.

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