Returning To Work After Rehab: Your Rights Explained

Rehabilitation is a difficult process that requires hard work and dedication.

But, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience, providing you with the opportunity to gain insight into your life and make positive changes in order to create a better future.

tired man at computer

However, returning to work after rehab can be a daunting prospect for many people, due to fears of discrimination or not being taken seriously by employers.

Fortunately, there are laws in place that protect those who have gone through rehabilitation programs from workplace discrimination.

If you’re wondering about your rights when returning to work after rehab, keep this info in mind:

1. Employers Cannot Ask About Your Rehabilitation

Under federal law, employers are prohibited from asking job applicants about their involvement in a substance abuse program or any other type of rehabilitation.

This includes questions such as “Have you been in rehab?” and “Do you have a history of substance abuse?”.

While an employer may ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime related to drug use, they cannot ask anything further related to your treatment for addiction or recovery.

Also, employers cannot use any information they learn about your rehab to discriminate against you in the hiring process. For example, they cannot deny you the job solely because of your involvement in a rehabilitation program.

2. You Can Request Accommodations

If you feel that certain accommodations need to be made in order for you to successfully transition back into the workplace after rehab, then you can make a reasonable accommodation request.

This means that an employer may provide additional help or resources if needed, such as flexible work schedules or other support services like transportation assistance.

However, employers are not obligated to provide any accommodations, and may choose to reject your request if it would create an undue hardship on the business.

This means that the accommodations must be reasonable and not cause a financial burden on the employer.

3. Employers Must Respect Your Privacy

In addition to protecting you from workplace discrimination, there are also laws in place to ensure that your privacy is respected when returning to work after rehab.

This means that employers are prohibited from disclosing any information about your rehabilitation programs or treatment without your permission.

If an employer does learn of your involvement in a rehab facility or program, they must keep this information confidential, and should not share it with other employees or potential employers unless you give them explicit permission to do so.

Also, employers cannot take any adverse action against you based on what they learn about your rehab history.

4. Understanding FMLA, ADA, and Alcoholism

If you are returning to work after rehab, it’s important to understand your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

You may be wondering, is alcohol treatment covered under FMLA? Generally, the answer is yes. The act provides job protection for individuals who have medical conditions or disabilities, including alcoholism.

Under FMLA, employers must give employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they are suffering from a serious health condition, such as alcohol abuse.

Furthermore, employers must make reasonable accommodations under the ADA in order to allow individuals with disabilities like alcoholism to perform their jobs safely and effectively.

5. You Have Legal Protection

If you believe that your rights have been violated when returning to work after rehab, then you can take legal action against the employer.

Federal and state laws protect individuals from discrimination based on their rehabilitation status and provide remedies for those who experience any form of discrimination in the workplace.

If you feel like you have been discriminated against or treated unfairly due to your involvement in a rehab program, it’s important to speak with an experienced employment attorney right away so they can advise you on what steps to take.

Also, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) may be able to assist you in filing a complaint against your employer if necessary.

Remember to document all your evidence, as it can often be hard to prove that any behavior towards you is due to discrimination.

6. Resources for Returning to Work After Rehab

It can be difficult to navigate the process of returning to work after rehab, but there are a number of resources available that can help.

Organizations like the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) provide support and assistance for individuals who are transitioning back into the workforce.

In addition, many rehabilitation centers also offer job placement services or referrals as part of their treatment programs.

Finally, your local unemployment office may have resources available that could help you find employment after rehab. This could include job leads, access to career assessment tools, and interviews with potential employers.

7. Seek Professional Support If Needed

If you find yourself struggling during the job search process, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

A therapist or counselor may be able to offer helpful advice and support to help you manage your emotions and remain positive throughout your transition back into the workforce.

Additionally, many rehab centers offer aftercare programs that can provide assistance with job applications, resumes, and interviewing skills.

You may also want to consider joining a support group for individuals who are returning to work after rehab – these groups can give you an opportunity to connect with others who understand what you’re going through and offer support.

In fact, having a good support system can be one of the best ways to help you move forward in life after going through the rehabilitation process.

two women working at laptop

Returning to work after rehab can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be.

With the right resources and a full understanding of your rights as an employee, you can make a successful transition back into the workforce with confidence and success.

Just remember that while you may run into challenges, you’re capable of tackling them and moving forward both in your career and in your life.

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