It’s not uncommon for employers to be suspicious of illegal substance use at the workplace. With all the potential risks that come with it, from increased absenteeism and decreased productivity to safety hazards and legal liabilities, employers need to take action if they suspect drug or alcohol abuse by any of their employees.
But how do you go about finding out if there is a problem? Here are some tips on detecting and dealing with illegal substance use in your workplace.
1. Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Substance Use
The first step is to identify signs that could indicate a possible issue. Some common indicators include changes in an employee’s behavior or performance, including mood swings, fatigue, memory problems, irritability, or aggression. Other signs may include:
• Sudden absences from work due to illness or other reasons.
• Frequent lateness.
• Impaired motor skills such as slurred speech or poor coordination.
• Visible intoxication during working hours.
• Inappropriate interactions with co-workers.
If any of these symptoms are present in one of your workers, then a further investigation into their behavior should be conducted immediately. You can start by having an open conversation with them regarding their suspected behavior and offering assistance if needed – such as counseling services – without accusing them of illicit activity-related activities.
In some cases, confronting employees directly may trigger further issues or even retaliation, so it’s best to approach them with sensitivity and understanding.
2. Conduct Regular Drug and Alcohol Testing
If you suspect an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it’s important to take action by conducting regular drug and alcohol tests. These can be done pre-employment as a voluntary option for potential employees who want to test themselves.
Consider using the 12 panel drug test, which screens for all major illegal substances, including marijuana and opiates. This is a particularly important test to ensure workplace safety, as drug use can increase workers’ risk of accidents or injuries.
Depending on the results of these tests, you may need to take further steps to address any issues that may be present. For example, in cases where an employee has tested positive for drug or alcohol use, it’s important to provide them with resources and support to help them get treatment if needed. You may also want to conduct follow-up testing to ensure they comply with the treatment plan.
3. Create a Drug-Free Workplace Policy
To help protect your workplace from the potential dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, it’s crucial to create a clear drug-free workplace policy. This should outline the prohibited behaviors at your company and details on what to do if an employee engages in such behaviors.
Some key components of a drug-free workplace policy may include mandatory drug and alcohol testing, disciplinary action for any policy violation, and resources for employees with substance use issues. By putting clear guidelines on these matters in place, you can help ensure that your organization is protected from any potential risks related to drug or alcohol abuse.
4. Seek Legal Support as Needed
If you suspect that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work, then it’s vital to seek legal support from an experienced employment attorney. This can help ensure that your actions comply with all relevant laws and regulations and will avoid any potential issues related to discrimination or wrongful termination.
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to protect your organization and employees from the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace. A lawyer can help guide you through identifying and addressing any issues related to substance use, as well as ensuring that your policies comply with all relevant laws.
5. Invite Employee Participation and Feedback
To successfully address drug and alcohol use in your workplace, it’s important to get input from all employees. This can help ensure that they feel empowered to speak up about any issues or concerns related to substance abuse and give them an opportunity to provide ideas on how best to address these issues.
One option is to hold regular meetings with all employees where drug and alcohol use can be discussed openly. This would allow employees to share their experiences with substance use, learn about the company’s policies on these issues, and offer suggestions for improving current practices.
6. Check in Regularly with Employees
To effectively address substance use in your workplace, you must check in regularly with employees. This can help ensure that they feel supported and understood and that any issues related to drug or alcohol abuse are being addressed appropriately.
One option is to set up regular one-on-one meetings with each employee, where you can check in on their overall well-being and discuss any issues that may be present. Additionally, it’s a good idea to stay alert for cues or changes in behavior that may indicate drug or alcohol use is present.
For example, employees under the influence of drugs or alcohol may exhibit poor performance, have difficulty concentrating or remembering tasks, or appear more emotional or agitated than usual. By being aware of these types of signs, you can take action to address drug and alcohol use as soon as possible.
7. Provide Resources for Employees Who Have Substance Use Issues
Drug or alcohol abuse can have severe consequences for employees and employers. If an employee has a substance use issue, it’s crucial to provide them with the resources and support they need to get help. This may involve referring them to an addiction treatment center or helping them connect with a therapist or mental health professional who can work with them on managing their substance use disorder.
Additionally, as an employer, staying current on the latest research and best practices for addressing substance use in the workplace is crucial. This can help you better understand how to create an inclusive and supportive environment for your employees and ensure that compliance with all relevant laws is maintained.
Addressing drug and alcohol use in the workplace is a complex issue, but it’s important for employers to consider. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your organization is taking appropriate steps to protect its employees from any potential risks associated with substance abuse.
With proper guidance and implementation of policies related to illegal substances in the office, you can be sure that your team will remain productive and successful while still being protected from harm.