Federal Protections for Substance Abusers in the Workforce

There are many substance abusers in the workforce that don’t get the help they need because of fears about losing employment while they enroll in a treament program. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) 68.9% of all active substance abusers in the US are actively employed in the workplace. To that end, 33% of all US employees are aware of the sale of narcotics in their workplace.

Additionally, almost 20% of American workers who suffer fatalities at work test positive for drugs and/or alcohol at the time of their death.

Clearly, both employers and employees suffer in a multitude of ways as a result of workplace substance abuse and sale. The numbers indicate that there exists a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the American workplace that is not working. Moreover, it seems employees may not feel comfortable asking for help for fear of being terminated as a result.

Family Medical Leave Act for Substance Abusers

In 1993 Bill Clinton signed the Family Medical Leave Act into law. The FMLA was intended “to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families. The Act allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to attend to the serious health condition of the employee, parent, spouse or child, or for pregnancy or care of a newborn child, or for adoption or foster care of a child. In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have been at the business at least 12 months, and worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. The FMLA covers both public- and private-sector employees.

Employee Assistance Programs for Substance Abusers

Employee substance abuse is very much covered and protected by this law. We need better education in the workplace. Employees need to know they are protected and Employee Assistance Program Directors need to educate their various department heads and employees regarding protection and available help. The aforementioned numbers above clearly indicate a problem in the American workplace and like anything else it always starts with education.

Our experienced lawyers at Jamen Lachs Law work with substance abusers and their families to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to enroll in a rehabilitation program without having to worry about losing their job. If you or a loved one believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated because of an addiction, contact us for a consultation.

By | 2018-04-22T14:42:27-04:00 April 22nd, 2018|Mental Health, Recovery|

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