Having an employee with a drug or alcohol addiction is a complicated situation. While employers may believe the easiest thing to do is fire said employee, it is definitely not the best choice. On the surface, a drug or alcohol addiction seems nothing but troublesome, but the employer may not be educated on addiction, or treatment options. They may not realize there are ways to deal with the problem, and as a result the person can live a happy, sober, and successful life—if they’re given the chance.

Getting addiction help for an employee

There are many reasons how financing an employee’s addiction treatment can prove helpful, ranging from saving money and time to increasing job satisfaction. Being there for the employee going through a rough time could even help save their life.

Rehiring and retraining employees can end up costing the company more than simply sending an employee to rehab. On top of finding someone able to take over the position, the gap before the replacement is fully trained can force other employees to take on the brunt of work left behind. This can lead to other unhappy employees and possibly a rift in productivity. If the employee in question is sent to rehab in the first place, they’ll likely return with a much better perspective on life and end up working diligently, thus being more productive.

The recovery time for addiction rehab is usually fairly quick. Most inpatient facilities offer 28 day treatment programs, and patients can expect to return to work in just 2-4 weeks after completion. Some employees with less severe addictions could even attend outpatient facilities, where they won’t have to miss quite as much work. Compared with major operational procedures and their associated medical leave, this is relatively short.

If a company cares about their employees—which they should—they will want every employee to be happy with their job. If an employer decides to fire someone because they need to attend rehab, this employee has no chance to prove they can do a better job or work harder after treatment. It could also send a negative message to other employees who witness what happens. In fact, people who are fired will likely share with others what happened, which can give the company a bad reputation.

There are no legal restrictions for employers when it comes to firing those with substance or alcohol addictions. Unfortunately, these are not treated as serious mental and physical health issues, so employees can be let go with no ramifications to the company. The right thing to do is help the employee receive the treatment they need, so they can live a healthy life and do great work for the company that invests in their well being.


Contact Treatment Now to speak with recovery experts for help with addiction questions.

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