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Identifying and Responding to Substance Abuse in the Workplace Training for Supervisors Presentation Subtitle/Description Presenter’s Name Date
©SHRM Introduction Substance abuse in the workplace results in absenteeism, diminished productivity, on-the-job injuries and potential company liability. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the annual cost of alcoholism and drug addiction to U.S. businesses is approximately $120 billion, which is more than the productivity loss due to heart disease, diabetes and stroke combined. To help lower these costs, it is important for employers to train their supervisors on how to identify and respond to substance abuse in the workplace. This sample presentation is intended for presentation to management. It covers both alcohol and illegal drug abuse. It is designed to be presented by an individual who is knowledgeable in the area of substance abuse, safety & health as well as employee and labor relations. This is a sample presentation that must be customized to match the company’s policies, procedures, state and federal laws, collective bargaining agreements (if applicable) and culture.
©SHRM Objectives At the end of this presentation, you will be able to: State the importance of identifying and responding to substance abuse in the workplace. Cite federal and state laws pertaining to substance abuse in the workplace. List warning signs of substance abuse. Cite important components of our substance abuse policy. Describe the role of the supervisor in identifying and responding to substance abuse.
©SHRM Importance of Identifying and Responding to Substance Abuse in the Workplace As noted in the introduction to this presentation, the annual combined cost of alcoholism and drug addiction to U.S. businesses is approximately $120 billion, which is more than the productivity loss attributable to heart disease, diabetes and stroke combined. (1) Twelve percent of full-time employees acknowledged either having used an illicit drug or having had five or more drinks at a time five or more times, or both, in the previous month. (2) 1.Source: National Institutes of Health. Disease-Specific Estimates of Direct and Indirect Costs of Illness and NIH Update. Department of Health and Human Services, Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The NHSDA Report. National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 2001.
©SHRM Importance of Identifying and Responding to Substance Abuse in the Workplace (cont’d) Identifying and responding to substance abuse: Helps prevent the hiring of illegal substance abusers when pre- employment drug testing is required. Helps deter current employees from on-the-job substance abuse. Provides assistance in helping employees recover from abuse. Provides a safer workplace for all employees and customers. Reduces workers compensation premiums.
©SHRM Questions? Comments?
©SHRM Federal and State Laws on Substance Abuse Under the ADA, alcoholism is a disability, but alcoholic employees may be held to the same standards as other employees, even if unsatisfactory performance is caused by the alcoholism. Neither the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) nor the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protect current users of illegal drugs. Absences due to substance abuse may be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if the abuse constitutes a serious health condition which includes: Any period of incapacity or treatment connected to inpatient care such as substance abuse treatment; or Continuing treatment by a healthcare provider, which includes any period of incapacity (i.e., inability to work) due to a health condition lasting more than 3 consecutive days (including treatment thereof, or recovery from) and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition.
©SHRM Federal and State Laws on Substance Abuse (cont’d)) Under medical privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), an employer may not: Obtain, use or share any information maintained by group health plan in connection with employment-related functions (such as drug testing). Continue to collect and use health information in connection with such programs. Under HIPAA Medical Privacy Rules, it is important to have firewalls between employees who administer group health plan and employees who are involved in employment- related functions.
©SHRM Federal and State Laws on Substance Abuse (cont’d) Specifically on substance abuse testing: No comprehensive federal law regulates or prohibits testing by private employers. State and local statutes may limit or prohibit workplace testing. However, the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 requires drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees in aviation, trucking, railroads, mass transit, pipelines and other transportation industries. The federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 applies to federal contractors.
©SHRM Group Discussion: Federal and State Laws on Substance Abuse What federal laws pertain to substance abuse in the workplace? Are there privacy concerns related to substance abuse testing? How does the ADA pertain to substance abuse? How is substance abuse handled under FMLA?
©SHRM Warning Signs of Substance Abuse Typical warning signs of substance abuse at work are listed below. No one sign should be taken as an indication of substance abuse. Some or all signs could be indicative of a problem and could constitute grounds for testing based upon reasonable suspicion. A supervisor needs to discuss his/her observations with HR before approaching or confronting an employee. Personal Appearance – disheveled appearance, unsteady gait, slurred speech, bloodshot or glazed eyes, odor of alcohol on breath. Dependability - Monday/Friday absence pattern; increased tardiness or failure to call in, frequent absences from work area; missed deadlines.
©SHRM Warning Signs of Substance Abuse (cont’d) Declining Quality of Work:- Increased errors, work frequently needs to be redone, inability to understand, follow through on complex assignments, inability to carry out instructions, low productivity. Declining Attitude - Uncooperative; increased conflicts with co- workers, customers, appears nervous, distracted, quick to anger. Exhibits signs of paranoia such as blaming others. Judgment - Illogical reasons for decisions, violates policies and procedures; takes inappropriate risk; inattentive to safety procedures.
©SHRM Important Components of our Substance Abuse Policy (Provide copies of your policy to all attendees and review all or most important components. The following slides are based on a standard substance abuse policy. You will want to review and revise these to match your own policy or you may replace these slides with the most important parts of your own policy.)
©SHRM Important Components of our Substance Abuse Policy (cont’d) The following are important components of our substance abuse policy: [Company Name] strictly prohibits the using, possessing, buying, selling, manufacturing or dispensing an illegal drug and being under the influence of alcohol at work Employees found to be in violation of our substance abuse policy will be subject to disciplinary action, including termination of employment Violations of the policy may also constitute an illegal activity that may result in the employee’s arrest and prosecution. The company provides counseling services through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or employees seeking substance abuse assistance.
©SHRM Important Components of our Substance Abuse Policy (cont’d) Substance abuse testing includes: Pre-employment drug testing for applicants considered for work in safety-sensitive positions. Illegal drug and alcohol testing based upon reasonable suspicion – This includes testing “for cause" (i.e., post accident)” and may also be required based on behavior, appearance, and performance. (This testing must be recommended by the immediate supervisor and approved by Human Resources.) Random testing - Employees are chosen at random by Human Resources for testing on a quarterly basis. Retesting for applicants or current employees who request retesting after a positive test. The cost of a retest which confirms the first test will be covered by the applicant or employee.
©SHRM Role of the Supervisor in Identifying and Responding to Substance Abuse in the Workplace Talk to the employee about our substance abuse policy. Keep track of employee work performance and document any change. Discuss with the employee specifics of unsatisfactory job performance, communicate expectations and discuss consequences. At this stage, do not make accusations of drug or alcohol abuse specifically as this could violate the ADA. Following our policy, if there are obvious signs of substance abuse, discuss observations with HR, and consider sending the employee for testing. Follow up with appropriate support such as a referral to the Employee Assistance Plan (EAP). Have the EAP maintain contact with the employee and request documentation of meeting attendance. (Most treatment programs will provide written verification of aftercare attendance, as long as the employee has signed a release.)
©SHRM Group Discussion: Warning Signs of Substance Abuse, Important Components of our Policy, and the Role of the Supervisor What are some warning signs of a possible substance abuse problem? What are some of the important components of our policy? What should a supervisor do if he/she suspects substance abuse? What is the role of the supervisor in responding to substance abuse?
©SHRM Summary It is important to identify and respond to substance abuse in the workplace because of the high costs of illegal drug and alcoholism-related absenteeism, lost productivity, and workplace injuries. In addition, identifying and responding to workplace substance abuse helps employees who are trying to recover from addiction and provides a safer workplace for employees and customers. Federal laws with provisions pertaining to workplace substance abuse are the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the HIPAA Medical Privacy Rule. Laws pertaining to substance abuse are Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act for safety-sensitive transportation employees and the Drug Free Workplace Act for federal contractors. State and local statutes may limit or prohibit workplace testing.
©SHRM Summary (cont’d) Warning signs of substance abuse include changes in an employee’s personal appearance and declining dependability, quality of work, attitude, and judgment. Important components or our substance abuse include prohibitions, disciplinary action for violations, and counseling services through our EAP. Supervisor responsibilities include communicating our policy, tracking employee work performance, documenting and discussing changes with employees, discussing any suspicions of substance abuse with HR, assisting with disciplinary action, and following up with a referral to the Employee Assistance Plan.
©SHRM Course Evaluation Please be sure to complete and leave the evaluation sheet you received with your handouts. Thank you for your attention and interest!
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