• 7 Steps for Supervisors to Effectively Carry Out a Drug-Free Workplace policy

    Supervisors play an important role in the implementation of a drug-free workplace policy. They are expected to carry out the policy fairly and firmly in order to maintain a safe work environment. The effectiveness and success of the organization’s drug-free policy may also depend on how well the supervisors are trained when it comes to responding to the challenges that may arise during the implementation stage.

    Listed below are 7 useful steps that supervisors can follow to effectively carry out a drug-free workplace policy.

    1. Know all the aspects of your organization’s policy – Be familiar with the rationale of your policy and make sure that it is clearly communicated to your employees. You may use different communication tools and creative strategies to make employees understand and adapt to the drug-free workplace policy.

    2. Be aware of the legally sensitive areas of the policy – Be well acquainted of the laws that your organization need to comply with when implementing your drug-free workplace policy and the legal rights of your employees. If drug testing is a part of the policy, ensure quality control, confirmation of positive results, and maintain the confidentiality of the employee drug test results. For employees who tested positive on drug test, make sure to provide due process and an opportunity for them to respond to the positive result.

    3. Recognize the potential signs of drug abuse in the workplace – Be observant of your employees’ behaviors in the workplace. Take note of the possible signs that may indicate that an employee may be experiencing drug related problems or personal issues

    • Habitual tardiness or absenteeism
    • Mood swings
    • Decreased sociability
    • Withdrawal from work responsibilities
    • Unusual behavior patterns
    • Defensive attitude concerning personal problems

    4. Create a systematic documentation for all workplace operations and employee observations – Be clear about the behaviors that your organization expects from its employees by providing employees proper training relevant to their job description. Keep a record and evaluation of employee performance, disciplinary actions (if there are any), complaints, and suggestions. If you suspect that someone in your organization is abusing drugs, you may consider documenting incidents that caused drug abuse suspicion using the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s supervisor’s checklist for determining reasonable cause.

    Below is an example on how to create a proper documentation as per USDEA guidelines.

    • First you will have to determine the indicators of drug abuse, which include the following.
    1. Flushed skin
    2. Sweating
    3. Yawning
    4. Twitching
    5. Violent behavior
    6. Argumentative
    7. Difficulty concentrating
    8. Slurred speech
    9. Bizarre behavior
    10. Needle marks
    • If you are able to document one or more of the indicators above, ask yourself the following questions to establish reasonable cause.
    1. Did the employee’s behavior affect his or her work performance?
    2. Does the impairment of behavior result from drug abuse?
    3. Are the facts reliable? Did you witness the situation personally, or are you sure that the witnesses are reliable and have provided firsthand information?
    4. Are the facts capable of explanation?
    5. Are the facts capable of documentation?
    6. Is the impairment of behavior current?

    Once you have established the reasonable cause, you may proceed to submitting a report to your manager or to the company’s Human Resources department for necessary actions.

    5. Act – If one of your employees is experiencing performance problem, deal with it through constructive confrontation. Listed below are some tips on how to achieve the constructive confrontation.

    • Organize a confidential meeting with the employee.
    • Present to the employee a documented evidence or performance deficit.
    • Offer the assistance or treatment that your organization is able to extend to help the employee overcome drug related problems.

    6. Refer employees to the right assistance program – If drug testing is included in your policy and one employee tests positive, refer him/her to the right assistance program in order to get help. When making a good referral, select an assistance program based on established effectiveness, consistency of the employee’s career goals, and consider the employee’s health insurance coverage.

    7. Reintegrate – Give a follow-up support or if drug testing is included in your policy, provide follow-up drug testing to ensure that the employee is safe from treatment relapse.

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    Categories: Workplace Drug Testing

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