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Handling Employees Under the Influence at Work

By March 6, 2019September 1st, 2022No Comments
man drunk with his head down on a table

Use these five steps to properly handle an employee under the influence at work.

Employers should always pay extra attention to their employees in order to optimize their workforce and help their business grow exponentially. One of the most overlooked problems within the corporate world is substance abuse. Rowdy behavior in the workplace could actually be a result of excessive alcohol consumption or even drug use. As a result, this can quickly compromise your business’s effectiveness, especially if you’re overlooking the clear signs that your employees could be abusing various substances.

Thus, to help you out, we’ve put together this handy guide that will show you how to handle an employee that might be under the influence in your workplace.

1. Don’t Make Unfounded Accusations.

The first thing you want to avoid is accusing your employees. Although signs may point to substance abuse, such as their lack of focus at work, it’s vital that you confirm the facts before you make sweeping statements that could be untrue.

2. Report the Issue to Superiors or Document It.

If you have superiors that you report to, then document the issue and leave it up to them to address and correct. However, if you are the authority in the workplace, then you’ll want to make a report of it and start documenting the person’s abnormal behavior so that you can build a case. It could turn into a legal issue if you do decide to let the employee go, so these documents serve as a way to follow proper procedure when dealing with a difficult employee.

3. Know That Your Employees Have Legal Protection.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that employees with an alcohol abuse problem are legally disabled; so as long as they can perform what their job description requires, the law protects them. The employer might have to accommodate the employee’s recovery needs, such as paying for rehabilitation or giving them time off work without the fear of losing their job. It’s important that you understand their legal protection and the accompanying laws. We recommend that you take a look at your state’s particular legislation to help you deal with this situation.

4. Show Concern for the Issue.

Substance abuse is often rooted in personal issues and problems that are troubling your employees. By showing concern for their issues and attempting to help them, you can try to get to the bottom of the problem and work it out before the substance abuse becomes a long-term habit.

5. Prevention is the Key.

The best way to handle an employee under the influence is to prevent it from happening altogether. Preventive measures include screening the personnel and helping your employees recognize and correct the issues that could be causing the substance abuse in the first place.

Corporate Medical Services can help employers by providing them with the necessary services and tools to drug screen their employees. This will help prevent these types of situations in the future, and it is one of the most common ways to deal with employees that could be abusing substances at work.