Addiction is a difficult disease to overcome. If you are a professional, addiction can be even more debilitating, as you are expected to perform in a certain way while you are on the job. Some people are able to hide their addictions from their employers, but this can get exhausting and difficult as time goes on. You may want to seek addiction treatment but are apprehensive about how that may appear to your employer. Here are some things you should know about addiction and your professional life that may be helpful as you seek help for your addiction:
Can Your Addiction Result in Job Loss?
For many professionals, the loss of their job is one major concern when they are dealing with addiction. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employees are protected from discrimination due to a disability. Under this law, alcohol addiction is considered a disability, but active illegal drug use is not. If you are in recovery from illegal drug use and are not actively using drugs, you are protected under this law.
However, you can lose your job if your alcohol addiction causes your job performance to decrease and the employer can prove this with workflow data. Employers will often encourage employees to seek out help for their addictions through counseling before they make any decisions about their employment.
What Happens if You Need to Enter a Recovery Program?
If you are in a recovery program that you can do on an outpatient basis, you often can find a program that will work around your work schedule. You can typically find programs you can go to at night or on weekends. If you cannot find a program that will work with your schedule, your employer must allow you to take an hour or make other accommodations to ensure you can seek the help you need under the ADA.
If you need to enter a residential program, this is where things can get tricky regarding your job. When you choose to enter a rehab program as an alcohol addict or a recovering drug addict, your employer must make reasonable accommodations for your job under the ADA. You can take time off under the Family Medical Leave Act if you meet certain qualifications. Keep in mind that you likely would have to take accrued vacation time or paid time off while you are in recovery in order to still get paid, as FMLA does not mandate that your employer pay you while you are away.
At the end of the day, you need to get your addiction under control, even if you have a successful career. There are tools available to help you if you have concerns about the preservation of your job.
For more information about addiction counseling, contact a local clinic.