Managing Employee Substance Abuse Problems


How should you manage employee substance abuse problems? Substance abuse not only negatively impacts productivity and accuracy in the workplace, it also can increase the likelihood of accidents or injuries in the workplace (resulting in costly worker’s comp claims.) In extreme cases, drug users may bring illicit drugs to work and sell them to coworkers. As a owner, it’s imperative that you protect your business with a robust, ironclad Central Florida Commercial Insurance policy. Furthermore, ensure you establish a clear a protocol for how to respond to substance abuse issues with an employee.

Create and Publicize a Substance Abuse Policy

Even if you haven’t discovered that an employee has a substance abuse problem, you should definitely have a detailed substance abuse policy and make sure all employees are aware of it. You can’t punish an employee for something that he didn’t know was against company policy. In many cases, it’s up to you whether a drug- or alcohol-related issue is grounds for termination. In other cases, you are subject to the requirements of the Drug Free Workplace Act.

Require Substance Abusers to Engage in Dialogue with You

In extreme cases, such as an employee who comes to work visibly impaired, verbally abusive, and physically unable to perform his job, termination may be the obvious solution. In other cases, such as an employee who you suspect drinks often on their lunch break and is able to function at a high level, the solution may not be as obvious. As an employer, it’s imperative that you explain exactly the behaviors that are troubling you. Be compassionate and offer assistance. Offer them an opportunity to seek help and change their ways.

Consider Random, Mandatory Drug Testing

It is within your right to make random drug tests a condition of employment. When an employee tests positive, the ball is in your court. You can assist him in his recovery (many recovery centers such as American Addiction Centers accept insurance to pay for treatment), discipline him, or terminate him.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with substance abuse in the workplace. Often, it’s far more expensive to recruit a new employee than it is to help an existing employee overcome his addiction. It’s a tough call. Insurance is not one-size-fits-all, either. Fortunately, securing a great policy is not tough: Contact Newman Crane & Associates Insurance at (407) 859-3691.