Can I Avoid Telling My Employer That the Health Issue I Need Time Off For Is Addiction?

It takes courage to admit that you need help for an addiction, and you’ve already overcome this major hurdle. The decision to go to rehab is often followed by a list of other questions. You might be wondering how to tell your friends and family that you have an addiction. It is also common to be concerned about how seeking addiction treatment could impact your career.

As an employee, you have some rights that protect your privacy regarding issues that affect your health, but you can also expect that your employer may have questions of their own about why you need so much time off from work. If you are asking if you can avoid telling your employer that the health issue that you need to take time off for is an addiction, then it is important to begin by asking yourself what you think the consequences might be for telling them the truth.

Addiction in the workplace is a situation that most employers have come across at some point. Drug and alcohol addiction awareness are especially important in career fields where someone being intoxicated could have dire consequences. People in the construction, healthcare, and transportation fields are at especially high risk of developing an addiction due to the stress that they are under at work, and it could be dangerous for anyone to try to perform their job duties when they are under the influence of substances. For this reason, most companies have policies in place to help people get sober. Exploring what your company has to offer and knowing your general rights as an employee can help you work through this challenging situation.

Should You Tell an Employer That You Are Dealing With an Addiction?

The answer to this question is very personal. Some people find it easier to just be honest about their need to seek treatment. Technically, your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you for addiction, and you can feel more confident by exploring your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, there is still the very real possibly that your immediate supervisor could judge you for being addicted to drugs or alcohol.

The best way to decide how much to share is to explore your company’s policies regarding drugs and alcohol. Some companies offer time off for people to seek help. If this applies to you, then you should feel fairly safe talking to your employer about your addiction. If you work in a place where you feel like you might be judged, then it might be in your best interest to avoid discussing your addiction treatment in detail. Instead, you can simply ask for time off to deal with a health condition and politely refuse to go into any details. If you must show proof of a need to take time off from work, then your counselor can help you furnish paperwork that explains a health need without going into the specifics. Due to privacy laws, using your health insurance should also not tip your employer off into what type of health treatment you are receiving.

How Can I Prevent My Addiction From Affecting My Job?

There is nothing to be ashamed about regarding seeking help for an addiction. However, ignoring your addiction could lead to serious consequences at work. Making the decision to go to rehab can help you avoid accidents at work that could cause you or someone else to get injured. If your career position holds a high degree of responsibility, then seeking treatment helps you to make the right decisions and maintain your professional reputation. If your addiction is severe, it is possible that your employer already suspects that you have a problem. Choosing to seek help demonstrates your desire to work hard to continue to be a good employee.

What Resources Are Available to Help Me Keep My Job During Rehab?

You may also be worried about losing your job due to needing time off from work. If so, then you may be covered by the Family Medical Leave Act that gives certain employees unpaid time off without consequences for their job. Your company may also offer vacation or sick leave time along with other forms of packages that allow for people to take care of their physical and mental health. Do you need help deciding how to talk to your employer about your decision to seek addiction treatment? We can help you feel confident about how you request time off. Give us a call today at 772-934-6580.