Addiction Recovery

What Can I Do if I Get Fired After Returning to Work from Drug Rehab?

Losing your job after drug treatment may cause you to question your next steps. The Edge Treatment Center can help you find a way forward.

What Can I Do if I Get Fired After Returning to Work from Drug Rehab?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

August 10, 2022

The Edge Treatment Center

Taking the step to go to drug rehab while also having a job can be challenging.

It can be even worse and more discouraging if you successfully complete drug rehab only to come out and be let go by your employer. Luckily, you have rights and protections as an employee, and today we will explore these as well as other steps you can take to ensure you will have income. At The Edge Treatment Center, we want to remind you that you are not alone, and we can help you understand what to do next .

Understanding the Family and Medical Leave Act 

The sole purpose of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is to ensure protection for employees to be allowed up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected time off. This is specifically for medical emergencies, either for the employee themselves or for close family members.

If you've been asked to leave a company on the grounds that may be a violation of your protections under the FMLA, the best place to start is to reach out to your human resources (HR) department. Discuss with them the reasoning behind your being laid off from your current position and see if there is any way to reverse this decision.

If not, know that moving forward, you are protected in any future employment, so long as you meet the requirements and discuss your condition beforehand.

FMLA Eligibility Requirements: 

There are a few requirements you must meet to be eligible for FMLA:

  • You must have worked 1,250 hours for that employer before you plan to receive the unpaid time off

  • Your employer must have at least 50 employees

  • You must have worked for this employer for at least 12 months, but they don't have to be 12 consecutive months

If you meet these requirements, you are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave to get treatment for substance use disorder (SUD). This ensures that you don't lose your job during the time you are in drug treatment. It is important to meet with human resources beforehand since if you attend drug treatment before discussing your rights under FMLA with your employer, you will not be protected. Ask about disability leave, too.

Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act

SUD is considered a disability, meaning it is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, this protection varies depending on each individual and their unique case. The sole purpose of the ADA is to protect individuals with disabilities that interfere with their daily life, such as working a regular job, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of themselves. 

There are a few limitations on who the ADA applies to for SUD. For example, if you are currently using illegal substances and trying to receive unemployment, the ADA cannot protect you.

However, say you successfully completed treatment and are trying to apply for jobs, or you get fired, the ADA can potentially protect you. 

Understanding the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act

The main priority of the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act (MHPAEA) is to ensure that health insurance plans do not create limitations on dollar amounts for mental health services. Addiction rehab is included in these services. In essence, the limits cannot be more restrictive than the limits in place for regular medical treatments.

However, the MHPAEA does not require that health insurance plans cover the cost of substance use or mental health disorder treatments. 

Next Steps 

Even with these different protections put in place to help, you can still legally be fired from your current position. This applies if your SUD affected your ability to perform at your job or if you were using illegal drugs during the time you were employed. 

The next option is to get in touch with the staff at the treatment center you attended. They can help you understand your next steps for finding a job. If this does not work out, look into unemployment in your state. You can also look into other government assistance programs such as food stamps and childcare help to ensure you can pay for things you need while continuing to look for a new job. The eligibility requirements for these programs vary by state, so it is important to check them carefully and meet with a professional to answer all of your questions. 

After you start receiving any benefits you qualify for, you can start the job hunt. The good thing is that there are many remote jobs you can do to relieve the stress of entering a completely new work environment.

However, if you like the idea of being around other individuals in a physical workplace, that is always an option and most likely has more available positions for you to choose from.

Check online job search resources for open positions in your area or remotely. You can also try the old-fashioned method of going around to businesses and asking if they are hiring.

The Edge Treatment Center will Help You Navigate the Complex Issues around Drug Rehab

Being fired after successfully completing drug rehab can be discouraging and may affect your view on post-treatment life and continued recovery. This may feel like one of the worst things.

However, it is important to look on the bright side and congratulate yourself on successfully completing drug treatment. This is one of the best investments for your future self, and you can move forward confidently from here to find new employment.

You are not alone during this process, even though it can feel that way at times. Our clinical staff is here to support you. Contact The Edge Treatment Center today to learn more!

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