Employees Ask: Should I Tell My Employer I Have a Substance Abuse Disorder?

Last Updated: December 16, 2022

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Employers expect their employees to report for work in good condition, ready to perform up to par with no issues. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for some employees to come to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which inevitably has a direct impact on their performance.

For this reason, employers are typically on the lookout for signs of alcohol and drug use in the workplace and likely have some sort of guidelines surrounding such use in their policies.

Not all addicts are the ones who live on the streets without a job. In fact, about 70 percent of drug users are employed, which means there are plenty of people in the workforce who are likely going into work every day high or drunk.

What if you are an addict? If so, you have probably had many days where you found it difficult to do your job adequately at work, show up on time, or even show up at all. Out of fear of losing your much-needed job, you may be fearful of seeking help from an Ohio addiction treatment center. Unfortunately, the more time that you spend in your addiction without getting help, the harder it can be for you to beat it.

Should You Talk to Your Boss About Your Addiction?

If you do decide to get help, you might be hesitant to talk to your boss about it. Is it even possible to go to rehab and keep your job?

Sure, these concerns are valid but as important as your job may be, your health is ultimately more important. At the end of the day, people who seek help for substance use issues have a better chance of keeping their jobs than those who do not.

Besides, your boss is probably already well aware of your addiction if you have gone to work under the influence. If you do enter rehab, there is still a chance that your boss will find out. You might think that you have managed to fly under the radar with your addiction at work, but odds are everyone at work already knows.

You Will Still Have a Job After Rehab

One of the biggest concerns about talking to employers about addiction and entering an Ohio addiction treatment facility is the potential to lose a job.

You should rest easy knowing that if you have been at your current job for at least 12 months, you are legally allowed to take a leave of absence for as long as 3 months – albeit unpaid – for a medical issue like addiction every calendar year thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In fact, this Act also ensures that you will still have a job to return to when you have completed rehab.

How Going to Rehab Helps Your Career

Focus on Getting Better

While you might be worried about the potential for your job to be affected or your reputation at work to be tarnished by entering rehab, your focus should lie with your healing. When you are in a treatment center, your new job, for now, is to get better and develop the skills needed to remain sober for the long haul.

Rehab facilities work with addicts long after they have completed treatment to help them enroll in support groups, enter sober living facilities, and establish careers. You will not be alone after rehab, and that includes getting back into the workforce.

If you are an addict and are concerned about being “jobless” after rehab, do not be. There is support out there for you. If you are still not entirely comfortable with the idea of telling your employer about your decision to enter rehab, keep it to yourself. You have no obligation to tell your employer if you do not want to do so.

Instead, discreetly discuss taking a leave of absence with your HR department, and take the time needed to get yourself better and return to work in a much better position to perform at your peak.

If you are struggling with addiction and want to discuss your specific situation with a caring addiction professional, contact us today.

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