Can You Keep Working While In Drug Rehab?

While outpatient treatment options are available to help you continue working while receiving treatment, it is also important that you understand all your rights and options as an employee, including your right to take a protected leave of absence and enroll in an inpatient treatment program.

Even when a person with substance use disorder (SUD) knows that their misuse of drugs or alcohol is causing them harm, they may not be able to stop the problem from getting worse. Fortunately, professional Ohio rehab programs can help. 

However, many people are reluctant to enroll due to shame, stigma, or concerns for their employment and job responsibilities.

If you live with an SUD, know that there are a variety of resources and protections in place to help support you as you receive substance abuse treatment, including protections specific to your employment and flexible treatment options designed to fit into your weekly work schedule.

Can You Work From An Inpatient Rehab Center?

Certain luxury rehab facilities may provide accommodations for participants to stay connected to their co-workers through the use of electronic devices between treatment sessions.

However, most treatment centers are more restrictive and encourage their participants to leave the outside world behind and invest their focus and energy fully on the process of recovery. And, thanks to federal law, employees have a great deal of freedom and flexibility to do just this.

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Substance Use Disorders Are Protected Conditions

In the past it was possible for employers to penalize or fire employees who attended drug or alcohol rehab. 

However, with the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) substance use disorders have been classified as a protected disability. This prevents employers from discriminating against employees who have:

  • a history of illicit drug abuse or alcohol abuse
  • a current alcohol use disorder

Nevertheless, if your work performance or behavior changes for the worse or you violate a company policy (including a failed drug test or on-the-clock DUI) you can still be disciplined by your employer, up to and including termination.

This means that allowing substance abuse to gradually impact your work is a tremendous risk for your career, while using your rights and seeking effective treatment can be a long-term career lifesaver.

But how can you effectively balance your work responsibilities with drug or alcohol addiction treatment?

How To Balance Work & Outpatient Treatment

In contrast with inpatient treatment, outpatient services allow you to continue living at home while you travel to scheduled treatment sessions during the week. 

This makes outpatient programs a practical solution for those who want to continue to work while still receiving professional treatment.

These sessions are only a few hours long, and while some full-time employees may struggle to balance these competing priorities, it can be done. 

Employee Assistance Programs & ADA Accommodations

You may be able access additional support through employee assistance programs hosted by your employer, as well as your rights to reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

In fact, the ADA requires employers to support eligible employees who experience a disability (SUDs included) and to facilitate their treatment in the interest of improved long-term job performance.

These accommodations may potentially include changes to your work schedule or process, like work from home flexibility, which can allow you to more easily participate in outpatient treatment sessions held during the work week.

FMLA Leave For Inpatient Care

An FMLA leave of absence is one of the greatest legal protections employees have when it comes to serious forms of SUD requiring intensive inpatient care inside a dedicated residential treatment facility.

Under Federal Law, specifically the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees have the option of taking up to up to 12 work weeks of job-protected unpaid leave in a single year for specific protected purposes, including:

  • for the birth and care of a newborn child
  • for adoption or foster care placement
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition
  • to manage a serious medical condition certified by a licensed healthcare provider, including participation in an inpatient alcohol or drug addiction treatment program for a diagnosed SUD

To be eligible for family medical leave, you must work for a public agency, school, or any private company with 50 or more employees. 

You must also have worked for your employer for at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

To learn how we address your working life during our inpatient program, and how we make your well-being our top-priority, please contact us today.

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  2. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR)
  3. U.S. Department of Labor

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: January 5, 2024

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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