The Proper Way to Deal With Suspected Drug Use in the Workplace

In a perfect world, an employee’s personal issues will not impact the workplace. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world, and employers sometimes have to make hard decisions.

One of those times is when there’s suspected drug use in the workplace. 

There are employment laws to address drugs and alcohol in the workplace. These laws will help you shape internal policies on what to do in these situations. 

Are you a business owner drafting policies on drug and alcohol use on company property and during work hours? Keep reading to learn more about how to deal with it and assist the employee.

Suspected Drug Use in the Workplace Is a Common Issue

Alcohol and drugs in the workplace impact 70 percent of America’s workforce. At some point and time, an employer will need to address the issue. With current events, such as COVID-19 impacting people at high rates, substance abuse is on the rise.

Being prepared to deal with drugs and alcohol in the workplace will place you ahead of the game. It will also allow your teams to help the employee faster and provide options. 

Develop Policies

As a business, you need to create policies that protect both the business, staff, and the employee. First, research drugs in the workplace laws and your rights as an employer to address them. 

Next, work with human resources to create internal policies that address the appropriate disciplinary steps. It may sound extreme but you may have to go as far as implementing narcotics detection techniques.

Whatever steps included in your policies, ensure they’re documented. During the hiring process provide new hires with a copy. Notify employees whenever there’s a change or update.

Last, when it’s suspected someone is using drugs and alcohol in the workplace, it’s a good idea to send out a reminder. 

Offer an EAP Program

Whenever possible, include an Employee Assistance Program. If your budget doesn’t allow for it, partner with local substance abuse agencies to receive your employees. 

This needs to be a step in the process for the company’s response to suspected substance abuse. Give the employee the option to use the recommended service or to choose an agency of their choosing.

Follow Disciplinarily Steps

First and foremost, remember this is a delicate subject. It has to be handled with empathy and with respect. Do not address the employee in front of other staff.

You also do not want to implicate anyone on your staff as a whistleblower. Give the employee an opportunity to address the behavior. Document conversations and have the employee sign all documents regarding meetings and next steps.

Stick to your policies and do skip steps.

Remember Addiction Is a Disease

Suspected drug use in the workplace is a serious matter. It is important to remember it’s a disease and shouldn’t get treated the same as someone who’s habitually late. Or someone who doesn’t meet quotas.

Our health section contains great articles. Check back often for useful information to help your employees stay healthy.