Business owners don’t really think their top employee could test positive for drugs. But in reality, it happens. Drug abuse isn’t uncommon, even in the workplace and there are a lot of reasons why individuals with such a degree in life could possibly get hooked into this substance. As a matter of fact, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has released an estimate of 70 percent of about 14.8 million employed individuals in the US take drugs. Among the drugs that are most abused is marijuana followed by cocaine and prescription drugs.
So what do you if your favorite employee tests positive for drugs? Here are some tips to help you know what to do:
- Expect excuses. When an employee tests positive, they won’t admit right away that they took drugs. Many would even blame this on secondhand smoke, a poppy-seed muffin they recently ate, or a faulty test. As an employer, you have to expect your employee to have an excuse for testing positive. Don’t think that this is going to be easy especially if the said employee is outstanding in his or her work. But you have to know that you should do some follow-up on the results so you can effectively determine whether or not it is true because as they say, there are two sides of a story.
- Retest and confirm. Using a test kit for drugs, you can give your employee another chance to be tested for drugs in his system. You may also have a qualified lab technician facilitate the test to determine whether or not the results are accurate. By doing the test again, your employee gets another chance to prove that he is not taking drugs. Or this is to ensure that the test isn’t faulty which provides you a handful of facts when you’re making your decision in the future.
- Seek a lawyer’s advice. Have a lawyer review your company’s policies for drug testing before you start conducting the tests. This is to ensure that there are not boundaries that were being overstepped in this kind of process. If and when an employee tests positive, you should get your lawyer’s advice to know what proper and legal actions you have to take next. You need guidance even your company’s policy say so because sometimes, decisions might contradict what the law says.
- Remove the employee. The employee should be removed from the workplace so you can prepare for the steps you need to take. Now take note, make sure you do this right after you found out the truth behind the result. If you think that you have covered everything needed, then you can remove the person. This is particularly true if your employee performs work in a safety-sensitive job.
- Offer him to an employee assistance program. As an employer, you have to be sensitive to your employees. Before you think about terminating him, you should give him the chance to join an employee assistance program so he can get treated or counseled. You have to show him that you care about his welfare and that you are interested in helping him out, especially if he has been performing well in your company.
- Set a probation period. If your employee agrees to take part in the assistance program, you should set a probation period for him. This means that you have to keep a close eye on him so he does not fall back to his usual behavior. You may even remove some responsibilities or privileges so that your employee will be motivated to do better. You may even have him take a home marijuana test to check his progress.
As an employer, you have to remember to handle positive drug test results with a level head. You need to be calm and understanding especially when making decisions so that you will not make a mistake with how you treat your employee. However this might work out, you have to think with a clear head as to how it will affect the company. So it’s best to make sure that you handle it as professionally as it goes.