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How to Talk to Your Employer About Going to Rehab

When you decide you want to go to rehab, you may be wondering what is the best approach to talk to your employer about going to rehab. It is also understandable you will have concerns about keeping your job and how much information you need to share with your employer. However, learning more about your options can help you determine the best approach. 

Should I Tell My Employer I Am Going to Rehab?

Taking the first step and deciding to go to rehab is a significant accomplishment. However, before you tell your employer, it is worthwhile to conduct some research to ensure you can keep your job. 

You should first start by reviewing your employer’s policies on alcohol and drugs. If there is a policy that drinking or using drugs while working is a violation, you could potentially lose your job if you tell your employer you are going to rehab. 

Next, you should review the healthcare policy that discusses a leave of absence and other details for employees who have a medical condition and need to take time off work. You may discover your employer has an employer-sponsored rehab treatment program. If not, and if you work for a medium or large company, you can often use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to safely take a leave from work and still retain your job. 

The FMLA allows you to take a medical leave from your job as long as you are a full-time employee. Your employer cannot fire you because you are taking this leave. The FMLA applies to any business where there are more than fifty employees. So, you can safely take time off work for up to 12 weeks and go to rehab.

The ADA allows you to take time off work since addiction and mental health problems are considered medical disorders. Therefore, the ADA will allow you to use your vacation time, sick time, and personal time off to go to rehab. However, once that time is up, you have to return to work. 

Furthermore, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) prevents your employer from requiring you to disclose why you need a medical leave of absence. Therefore, it is entirely up to you whether you want to share your reasons with them or not. 

How to Talk to your Employer About Going to Rehab

Once you have gathered the information you need about your employee rights and options for taking a leave to go to rehab, you may decide to talk to your employer. Use these tips to help you speak to your employer about your substance use disorder. 

  • Try not to be afraid. Your employer may already suspect something is going on, especially if your job performance has started suffering. 
  • Be honest and forthcoming. It is better to tell the truth about why you need a leave of absence from work than make up some other medical reason. 
  • Share how much your job means to you. Let your employer know how much your job means and that you want to retain it after rehab.
  • Try not to worry about what others may think. Most businesses have a gossip mill, and some of your coworkers will probably speculate why you are taking a leave of absence. However, do not let their opinion or judgment stop you from going to rehab. 
  • Make the necessary preparations. Before taking your leave, let your employer know you will finish up any loose ends and who can take over your responsibilities while you are away. 
  • Never feel obligated to tell your employer. After preparing and researching, if you are still worried you may be fired, you do not have to tell your employer. Instead, ask for a medical leave of absence. 

Can You Still Work and Go to Rehab?

Yes, there are outpatient rehab programs that allow you to still work and go to rehab. However, you should take at least two weeks off work to complete detox first. You can simply request a temporary medical leave or use vacation time for those two weeks. This option can be beneficial when you are the primary income provider for your family. 

What If My Employer Fires Me After I Tell Them I Want to Go to Rehab?

If you violated a company policy, they have every right to terminate your employment. They could also fire you if you decide to go to rehab but do not request the time off in advance. However, suppose you are fired and did not violate a company policy and requested the time off in advance. In that case, you should seek legal advice from a wrongful termination legal professional. You may also be entitled to unemployment benefits. 

Rehab Treatment in Knoxville, TN

When you are ready to start rehab treatment, Tennessee Valley Recovery in Knoxville, TN is here to help. We provide a caring, safe, supportive environment with customized treatment programs. Start your rehab today by contacting us.