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5 Steps to Take if an Employee is Taking Drugs

Steps to Take if an Employee is Taking Drugs

If you start to suspect that an employee of yours may be under the influence of drugs, it can be difficult to know how to respond – especially if this isn’t something you’ve had to handle before. However, it’s vital that you act on your suspicion.

Employees who abuse alcohol and drugs in any form (illegal or prescription), can pose serious problems to the overall wellbeing and safety of your work environment. Productivity, performance, potential violence risks, and the comfort of your other employees can all be negatively affected by the situation at hand. So, what should you do if you’ve got a feeling this could be an issue on your team?

This blog outlines the steps that should be taken if you suspect that an employee may be abusing drugs. To enquire about the drug testing process and organize a kit for your workplace, contact ReliaLab today.

Step 1: Know Your Processes

It is vital that you have an established drug and alcohol policy in place for your company. Beyond that, it’s just as important that you know the regulations and established procedures thoroughly. This will be your ultimate guide, and will determine how you are permitted to approach this entire situation. As you look into your workplace policies to confirm what your employee has agreed upon, it’s also worthwhile to look into your state’s laws surrounding drug testing. Before you make any decisions or plans, that first step is always going to be ensuring that you’re fully aware of all regulations and predetermined processes in place.

Step 2: Note All Observations

Presumably, your suspicions have been raised due to behavior you’ve noticed in the workplace – or perhaps behavior that has been reported by other employees. If there are any witnesses to the issues, or overall complaints and concerns made regarding specific behavioral patterns that have raised suspicion, it is essential that you document everything. Take note of every observation, so you have a detailed backlog of why you’ve chosen to investigate this matter further. Keep management and supervisors in the loop, to ensure that several parties are aware of and documenting the issues being presented.

These observations could include things such as:

  • Change in behavior (violence, agitation, irritability, emotional instability)
  • Slurred speech
  • Odors
  • Tardiness
  • Low energy
  • Dilated eyes
  • Anxious behavior
  • Excessive sweating

Step 3: Arrange a Meeting

With the situation thoroughly documented, and several key team members in agreement that moving forward is necessary, it’s then appropriate to arrange a meeting with the employee. Here, you need to discuss with them everything that has been observed about their behavior. Total transparency is always best, so lay out everything that has been noted to make clear your reasoning for investigation. After this, you then have the option to follow up in whatever manner is outlined in your company policy.

It’s important to note that this meeting should never be one-on-one. There should always be a third party present, acting as a witness to everything that is being discussed.

Step 4: Drug Testing

Whether or not formal drug testing is an option depends entirely on your state law and workplace policy. If everything is legal and clearly stated within your existing policy, then it is appropriate to move forward, notifying a drug testing facility that you will be sending an employee over for testing. Make it very clear to the employee in question that this is a necessary process to eliminate the possibility that they are violating your company’s drug policy. Be aware of whether or not you have previously obtained consent from the employee for drug testing, as if you haven’t you will need a consent form on standby for them to sign.

Step 5: Act Upon the Results

Once you have confirmation of the test results, how you proceed will depend entirely upon your company’s policy. If negative, notify the employee and allow them to return for work, discussing the cause of their concerning behavior as needed. If positive, you may have a couple of different options. You may choose to send the employee for counseling or treatment before allowing them to return to work. If this is the case, then remain aware of any suspicious behavior in the future, in case of further incidents.

Depending on your policies, you may have a clause that allows for return to work rights that allow for immediate termination should the employee ever be found under the influence at work again. Your other option is to terminate immediately upon positive results, as your drug and alcohol policy agreement has been violated.

Enquire About Workplace Drug Testing Today

Navigating this tricky situation for the first time isn’t easy, so it’s essential that you enter this ordeal with a thorough understanding of your rights, your employee’s rights, and all legal procedures in place. If you’re looking to test an employee or workplace, then it’s best to go into the process knowing you’ve got an experienced testing facility on deck to help out. Reach out to ReliaLab today to enquire about our services, or simply ask any questions you may have about the drug testing process.

Order a Test

Whether you are an individual looking to get a drug test done today or an employer looking to get a pre-employment drug test done today, ordering a test online is easier than ever! Just submit your order online, receive your test authorization by email, go to your local clinic to be tested, and receive your test results in 24 to 48 hours.

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