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How to Keep Your Job and Protect Your Privacy During Rehab

Working up the courage to admit you have a substance abuse problem is hard enough, but committing to a long-term drug rehab program can be even more challenging, especially when you have a job to maintain and your personal reputation to protect.

These things are issues that addicted individuals frequently face when leveraging their options for addiction treatment. But there are ways to protect your job and your privacy while enrolled in drug rehab.

Making the Decision to Enroll in Drug Rehab

There are several different factors that may keep a person from enrolling in a drug and alcohol rehab program.1 Common reasons include:

  • Stigmatization
  • Denial
  • Lack of insurance/Medicaid
  • Wanting to conceal treatment from a spouse
  • Fear of treatment
  • Inability to share with others
  • Privacy concerns
  • Job-related pressure

Among the many barriers to treatment, privacy concerns and job-related pressure are some of the most practical and economic factors. Even while in rehab, responsibilities such as bills, job-related tasks, and financial security are still very important. Additionally, maintaining personal privacy is a high priority, especially for those who wish to keep their substance abuse problems away from the prying eyes of coworkers and other acquaintances outside of the family.

To fully commit to a drug and alcohol rehab program, many people in recovery must feel confident in their ability to maintain their employment and protect their privacy. Fortunately, there are ways to achieve this.

Keeping Your Job While Going to Drug Rehab

If you need to attend drug rehab while you are employed, there are a few federal laws that are designed to protect your job while you are on leave attending rehab.2 These laws are:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • The Fair Housing Act
  • The Workforce Investment Act

It’s important to note that the laws listed above will not protect the employment status of people who currently use drugs illegally, individuals who put others’ safety at risk with their drug or alcohol use, or anyone whose substance abuse does not significantly impair their life activities, such as work.2

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a labor law that also provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. Under this law, medical benefits must also be maintained during the leave period, so you may be able to use them to reduce your out-of-pocket cost of addiction treatment.3

Eligible employees must meet the following requirements to take advantage of the protections the FMLA provides:

  • You must be employed by a covered employer.
  • You must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months.
  • You must have at least 1,250 hours of service for your employer during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave.
  • You must work at a location where your employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

Keeping these legal protections in mind, you will also need to be careful about how you approach your boss when taking leave for a substance use disorder. While most employers cannot legally force you to disclose the exact reason for your medical leave, depending on your circumstances and your employer’s policies, you may or may not decide to reveal the truth about your addiction treatment. The decision is up to you, but it would be wise to review your employee handbook before taking action.

Protecting Your Privacy During Drug Rehab

While you are enrolled in a drug and alcohol rehab program at Nova Recovery Center, you have complete control over the privacy of your personal information. You are entitled to complete confidentiality if you wish, and our staff members will not provide anyone with information about your stay unless you provide explicit consent.

During the initial enrollment process, a member of our staff will ask you to fill out a consent form. On this form, you will have the ability to list any and all entities or individuals that you will allow to receive information about your addiction treatment. You also have the ability to add or remove the names of individuals and entities from this list at any time.

Understandably, if you wish to keep your addiction treatment between you and your immediate family members, you may also have concerns about other clients or visitors recognizing you while you’re enrolled at a local rehab center.

For this reason, many people choose to enroll at a rehab center located in a different city or state. Not only does this provide miles and physical distance between you and everyone you know, but it can also remove you from local temptations, places you used to use, and substance abusing friends.

Completing a drug and rehab program in a different city or state can also symbolize a fresh start. It can provide additional privacy while also serving as great motivation to commit to a long-term lifestyle change.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can keep your job and protect your privacy while enrolled in rehab or detox, please contact Nova Recovery Center for more information. Our promise is to maintain ultimate discretion and protect your privacy while you’re enrolled in drug detox and rehab. We even provide an executive detox program that is tailored to the personal and professional needs of individuals with established careers and serves as a solid cornerstone for a life of sustained sobriety. Our knowledgeable admissions team has guided countless individuals through the enrollment process and will be able to answer your questions and provide professional recommendations, so call today.



  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1986793/
  2. https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/PHD1091/PHD1091.pdf
  3. https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/benefits-leave/fmla
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