As an employer, you understand that if an employee’s productivity decreases, you're losing money. Employee work performance is an important part of keeping any business running, but before you start firing under-performing employees, you need to assess if they are struggling with substance abuse. With proper addiction treatment, these employees could return to work as your best workers. Here’s a guide for employers and what you need to know about addiction before taking action with a struggling employee.
Can You Fire an Addicted Employee?
As an employer, you have the right to dismiss an employee that’s not living up to their responsibilities and may even be costing you, but if an employee is struggling with substance abuse, they have the right to take a leave of absence for addiction treatment — without getting fired.
Under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), you cannot fire a worker due to their addiction and you must allow them the chance to get residential addiction treatment. It’s also in your business’s best interest to allow that individual to take a leave of absence for treatment, as it will cost more to hire and train a new employee to replace them. When they return from rehab, their overall well-being will improve — and so will their work performance. That employee might just end up being your most productive worker.
Addiction is a Disease
Why can't workers struggling with substance abuse be fired from their job if they're not living up to their responsibilities? It’s because addiction is a disease. Just as you can’t fire an employee for having cancer, addicts and alcoholics are battling their own fight against a disease. Use this knowledge to understand addicted workers and approach them in a non-judgemental manner. It’s even better if you use this piece of information to educate all of your workers and make them feel comfortable approaching you or HR about their struggles.
Employees Failing Drug Tests
Encouraging a drug-free workplace starts with you — the business owner. Arranging for regular drug tests for your workers will help you get a better idea of which employees may be silently struggling with substance abuse. What do you do with your employees that do fail their drug-test? Instead of reprimanding them, encourage them to seek residential addiction treatment. Acqua Recovery offers free over-the-phone addiction assessments with workers that have recently failed a drug test. Reach out to us today to learn more about how you can partner with us for employee substance abuse assessments.
Substance Abuse Treatment for Employees
As the business owner or employer, it’s your responsibility to set the tone in your workplace to make employees feel comfortable seeking substance abuse treatment. Having regular education on the subject to destigmatize your workplace, will benefit your business and the health of your employees in the long-run. Give our admissions team a call today to learn more ways you can help your workers struggling with addiction.