Can You Get Fired for Going to a Mental Health Treatment Center?

Mental health and wellness are two critical employee considerations to remember. As a result, there may be occasions when someone needs to attend a mental health treatment facility to treat issues such as substance abuse or a mental health disorder.

In the United States, the question of whether or not someone can be fired for going to a mental health treatment center is a complicated one. The answer will largely depend on federal and state-specific laws and regulations, but individual employer policies can also affect decisions.

Federal laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protect employees from being fired if they attend rehab to treat a condition such as substance abuse or a mental health disorder.

However, it’s worth mentioning that companies may try to circumvent these laws. For example, an employee may be terminated based on job performance grounds if there is sufficient evidence that the employee’s performance has been particularly poor. The company may also be going through a genuine restructuring which could lead to layoffs.

Disclaimer: Please note that Peaks Recovery Centers is not authorized to provide legal advice to online readers. Although our information may be helpful to those who are in this situation, it’s important to understand that this is not legal advice.

Protections for Going to Mental Health Treatment Center

In the United States, individuals who go to a mental health treatment center often seek treatment for a particular condition, such as a mental health disorder, behavioral issues, or substance addiction. As a result, they are given protections under federal laws that will prevent them from being fired

These protections are as follows:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities, and this includes individuals who are recovering from mental health disorders. The legislation ensures that those who are seeking treatment to recover from mental health are protected under the law, meaning an employer cannot fire their employees for seeking mental health treatment.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA can help eligible employees by protecting them with up to 12 weeks of unpaid annual leave for medical reasons. This includes seeking treatment for substance abuse and attending a mental health treatment facility. The FMLA applies to all public agencies, private and public elementary and secondary schools, and companies with at least 50 employees.

However, employees need to be eligible in order to receive this protection. For starters, they will need to have worked for their employer for at least 12 months with at least 1,250 hours of work clocked in over that period. They must also work for a business that has at least 50 employees and is within 75 miles of their home.

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

Unlike the ADA and FMLA, COBRA doesn’t directly protect employees from being fired for seeking mental health treatment. Instead, COBRA offers individuals and their families options to continue their group health insurance coverage for some time under their employer’s plan in the event they are fired or other qualifying events, such as reduced working hours.

This can be important for employees concerned about losing their health insurance coverage if they are fired while attending a mental health treatment center or if their number of working hours is reduced below a set amount, making them ineligible for employer-sponsored health benefits.

This ensures that people currently recovering will have continued support and access to medical care during this vulnerable period.

In Conclusion

To conclude, a company could potentially try to fire you for attending a mental health treatment center, but you will be protected under the ADA and FMLA. The ADA protects against discrimination against employees with disabilities, and the FMLA provides 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave for medical reasons. However, it’s important to check that you are eligible for these protections as there are some criteria that you’ll need to meet.

However, it’s not entirely unheard of for a company to fire an employee for seeking mental health treatment for performance issues or violating company policy. In these situations, COBRA can assist by allowing individuals and their families to continue using their employer’s medical insurance plan for a limited time to continue their addiction rehab.

Reach Out To Peaks Recovery

If you or a loved one is in need of mental health treatment, please reach out to Peaks Recovery for support. We offer a continuum of care designed to generate greater mindfulness and well-being, even if life sometimes becomes challenging. 

Call at 855-222-1610 to speak to our friendly team. 

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.