A rising challenge within today’s workplace is that issues and consequences associated with employee substance use are seen spilling over into the work environment. While many professionals might recognize their need for rehab or outpatient counseling, their employment status is a common concern when deciding whether to seek treatment.
If you are worried that receiving substance use treatment will hurt your current or future job prospects, there are protections in place that you should be aware of.
Legal Protection for Employees Seeking Treatment
Employees should not let the fear of being fired keep them from getting the help they need to recover from addiction. There are certain legal acts that offer protection to employees against being fired for seeking addiction treatment services.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives you legal protection if you take a leave of absence from work for medical reasons. It further provides you with up to 12 weeks’ unpaid time off from work without threatening the security of your job.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a legal act that bars discrimination against disabled employees. Under ADA, chemical dependency is considered a disability. If you are found seeking voluntary treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction, you can’t be let go from your job. Disability, in this case, does not include people who currently use illegal drugs.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the conditions and provisions of ADA if you are an employee seeking drug or alcohol treatment.
Finding Rehab Treatment Through Your EAP
One of the best ways for workers to find drug and alcohol treatment is through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP helps employees and their household members face a variety of challenges, both personal and professional, by connecting them to qualified professionals who can address the employees’ concerns. These programs assist you in resolving issues so that they aren’t carried over into the workplace.
If you are an employee struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, your company’s EAP can put you in touch with qualified treatment providers within your benefits program, allowing you to get help at no additional cost, or at a reduced cost.
Are You an Employee Looking for Drug or Alcohol Treatment?
Specific treatment methods for substance use disorders depend on the individual’s unique set of circumstances. While some employees will require inpatient rehab, others may find intensive outpatient counseling (IOP) to be a more appropriate option. Workers should discuss the various substance use and mental health services available to them when contacting their EAP provider.
Will My Employer Know I’m Seeking Treatment?
Voluntary participation in EAP is designed to be confidential. You don’t need to worry about your colleagues or managers finding out about the treatment you are seeking if you have self-referred.
If you are referred to EAP services by your employer, however, they may receive feedback regarding your attendance and confirmation that you have completed the necessary treatment program. Testing positive during an employee drug screening is a common example of when an employer might refer their team member to EAP counseling.
Get Help from Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP
Though employee assistance programs are not limited to substance use treatment services, they are an excellent resource for workers who are ready to begin their recovery. Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP provides confidential services trusted by employees across the country to address a multitude of substance use concerns. Speak with one of our benefit specialists to learn more!
PLEASE NOTE: The information provided above should not be interpreted as legal or health care advice.