As a business owner, you may not realize it, but the odds of encountering an employee who has a substance abuse problem are actually pretty high. According to a 2011 survey by the Department of Health and Human Services, 52% of the 18.9 million people who were classified with abuse or dependence were employed. Therefore, it’s important to know how to determine if an employee is suffering from addiction, as well as how you can deal with the issue appropriately. Continue reading to learn more, especially since employees who have addiction problems can adversely affect your entire organization in myriad ways, including reducing productivity and increasing liability.
Know the Signs of Substance Abuse
A lot of times, employers will miss any signs that indicate an employee is suffering with an addiction to drugs or to alcohol. This is because the signs are often surprisingly subtle, but if you’re diligent, you can spot them sooner rather than later and help your employees get the help that they need from treatment centers like Balboa Horizons.
Some physical signs of addiction include a residual smell of alcohol, as well as bloodshot eyes. However, non-physical signs could include arriving to work late habitually, as well as leaving work early. Excessive absences are also a common sign, but some drugs could even make an employee more active, so the individual may be at work and constantly walking around looking extremely busy when they aren’t actually getting anything done.
Talk to Your Lawyer
After you’ve written a substance abuse policy that prohibits employees from using alcohol or drugs during work hours, and after you set the policy in place and have every employee agree to that policy, you’ll need to consult an attorney if you do notice that an employee has been using. In other words, the moment that you recognize that one of your employees is addicted to drugs or alcohol and hasn’t complied with your substance abuse policy, you’ll need to work with a lawyer to ensure that every step you take complies with federal and state employment laws.
Collect a List of Local Resources for Help
A lot of communities will have many resources when it comes to substance abuse prevention and treatment. All you have to do is research some of these local groups and determine which ones can provide the most help to an employee who’s suffering with addiction. Provide that employee with a list of treatment facilities, educational resources, support groups, and more so that they have a place to go immediately for help. It’s also a good idea to include these resources with your substance abuse policy so that all employees will have access to them.
Talk to Your Insurance Provider
If you are offering employer-provided health insurance, you should contact the insurance company in order to figure out which treatments will be covered, and to find out if they recommend any resources within your community that could help your employee get clean. Remember that the coverage can vary widely from one policy to another, so you need to contact them to find out exactly what is covered. In this way, you can then speak with your employee and encourage them to take the right steps to get the affordable treatment that they need right away in order to keep their job.
Always Address This Issue Directly
Whenever you notice that one of your employees has a substance abuse problem, you never want to avoid the issue or ignore the signs. Instead, you have to address this important issue directly with your employee through a private conversation in your office. You will need to review your company’s substance abuse policy and remind your employee that they have violated this policy. You will also need to express your concerns, as well as provide your employee with the necessary resources that can help them get clean. If their job is on the line, and they know that they will be fired if they do not get treatment to get sober, they will likely be willing to comply.
These are some of the main steps that you can take if you have to deal with an employee who is suffering with a substance abuse problem. Encourage all of your employees to speak up if they notice a co-worker exhibiting symptoms of addiction, and have a plan in place in the event that you do confirm that the individual has an addiction. This will ensure that you can use the right strategies to keep your business from being affected.