How to Handle Intoxication in Workplace

There are several organizations who suspect that their employees and workers are working under the influence or there is intoxication in the workplace. Now the question remains, how to handle this situation when you are suspecting your employees to be working under the influence at work?

What to Do

Under such circumstances when you suspect intoxication in the workplace, you must send the concerned employee a notice to meet the supervisor to find out whether the suspicion is true. Before taking this step, you should document the facts like slurred speech, the odor of alcohol, balance problems, bloodshot eyes etc. to show why you suspect intoxication in the workplace.

You can also involve a trained observer such as a Supervisor or a law enforcement officer to observe the employee and determine the truth. In the case that the employee is under the influence of the controlled substance, then the trained observer has to establish the “reasonable suspicion” after a careful visual examination.

Lawful Searches

A lawful search can also be an option, with the employee’s consent. You can also ask the employee directly whether he/she works under the influence at work. If the employee replies “yes”, then you need to ask them what they have ingested.

The statement of the suspected employee is to be documented. In case the employee disagrees to this request, then you have the right to ask the employee to undergo an alcohol or drug test which would help to disapprove your suspicion.

Drug Testing

In case the employee declines to take this alcohol or drug testing, then you have to document the incident and place the employee on administrative leave. Also, the employer should be arranging a transportation to get the employee back home. Under such circumstances, the employer or the management should not allow the employee to drive back home.

A breath test is the least intrusive test for alcohol. In case the suspicion is for the controlled substances, then the least intrusive test is urinalysis.

The further step after it has been proved that the employee has worked under intoxication in the workplace is that the concerned employee can be given reasonable corrective directions that will effectively prevent similar or same conduct in the near future during the tenure of the employee’s work in the organization.

A written warning is to be given to the employee that he or she would be required to submit an alcohol or drug testing in the event of similar conduct in future. Also, the concerned employee has to be observed at work for the next few days/months so that you may ensure that similar conduct is not repeated again.