Cascade Alliance

Technique Tuesday: How to Handle Employees Under the Influence

This week for Technique Tuesday, we will be covering the topic of how to handle suspected employees under the influence. While this is a heavier subject matter, we hope this technique can provide guidance for dealing with these issues.

What to do if you suspect an employee is under the influence:

We tell staff members to report the issue to the person in charge if they suspect someone is under the influence. We then have the suspected staff member sit in the office. If it’s during the weekday the manager will make take them to get drug tested, if it’s on the weekend we call Med-Express to have them tested. If there is a reasonable suspicion we want them tested quickly so that we are able to prove or disprove it.  For example, if we suspect the employee is under the influence of alcohol, we need to test them quickly as alcohol can only be detected for about 12-48 hours after it’s consumed.

If the test comes back positive, we send the employee home until our store director makes contact.  However, you can tailor these suggestions to best fit your organization.  If the employee is unable to drive, don’t let them.  If they don’t listen, you can contact local law enforcement.

Another item we use is a checklist to track problem behaviors.  This helps to identify problems as early on as possible.  Items on the checklist could include: patterns of taking Monday’s/Friday’s off, absenteeism, difficulty with concentration, scent of alcohol or other substances on the person, long and frequent bathroom breaks, confusions, etc.