Facing Your Addiction Gives You Legal Protection

By John C. Cook

Getting treatment for an addiction doesn’t just make good health sense.  It makes good legal sense.  It could save your job.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an addiction is a disability, meaning your employer is prohibited from discriminating against you because of it, and your employer must provide reasonable workplace accommodations for you.  Such accommodations could include extended leave to allow you to participate in residential treatment, intermittent leave to permit you to attend A.A. or N.A. meetings, reduced schedule to reduce stress, etc.  So, if you have an addiction and are getting treatment for it, that could help you save your job.

On the other hand, if you do not face your addiction, you will not have legal protection and you could lose your job.  An employer can terminate you for poor job performance, even if the reason for that performance is substance use.  Furthermore, if you are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at work, you can be terminated for that.  In such an event, your addiction does not offer you protection.  Why?  Because drug or alcohol use is not protected.  Only the condition of addiction is protected.  So, if you take that first step, acknowledge your addiction, and are getting help (and not use), you can request accommodations and be protected from discrimination.  But, if you use, then job discipline, including termination, can occur.

So do both your health and your wallet a favor.  Face your addiction.  No, it will not be easy.  But there are people who can help.  If you do not face up to your addiction, then your use can end up costing you your job, as well as your health.

 

Get help today. Visit help.org for more information on prescription drug addiction and abuse.

 

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