Recovering from substance use disorder is treated by the law as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. You get protections against discrimination at your job because of this. This means that an employer cannot refuse to hire you because you are in recovery. If you can do the job, an employer cannot refuse reasonable accommodations for you to do it. An employer generally cannot fire you because of your disability. However, even though you have a disability, you must still qualify for the job.
Example: You apply for a job. The manager in charge of hiring employees finds out that you are in recovery from substance use disorder and refuses to hire you because of it. This is illegal discrimination.
Example: You are in recovery from substance use disorder. You attend a treatment program every Wednesday from 5 to 9 in the evening. Your boss changes your shift from 10 am to 2 pm, to 3 pm to 10 pm, causing you to miss your treatment. If your boss knows about your treatment program and changes your schedule even though there are other people who could work the late shift, then this is illegal discrimination, even if the employer does not fire you, because the employer failed to accommodate the treatment program.
Example: Your boss knows that you are in recovery from substance use disorder. He fires you and says, “I don’t want any addicts working at my store.” Your recovery does not prevent you from doing your job, and you are not a danger to the public. This is illegal discrimination.
Counter example: You have a high school diploma and are in treatment for substance use disorder. You apply for a job that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the employer hires someone with a bachelor’s degree instead of you. Because you do not qualify for the job, this is not illegal discrimination, unless the employer did not hire you because of your treatment.