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A bloodshot look, maybe an unexpected stumble. Irritability at the water cooler. Perhaps a touch of aggression, too.

If a coworker is exhibiting signs causing you to suspect that he or she is under the influence, your immediate next step should be to deal with it.

But how? What should you do if you suspect a team member is under the influence at work?

In any situation where an employee is suspected of using drugs or alcohol on the job, you have two main considerations: 1) the health and safety of any team members affected, and 2) the liability of the company.

Explore: Three huge reasons to implement a workplace drug policy

Step 1: Check your workplace drug policy. What does the policy tell you to do? Follow any procedures laid out there. If you have a service provider such as Bostec, who’s helped you establish well-defined drug policy processes and procedures, consult with them about the matter at hand. If you do not have a service provider, you can call Bostec. We will help make sure you’re taking the best possible steps to protect both your team members and the company itself.

Step 2: Document and observe. Note any complaints that have been received about the employee and observe the signs that may indicate whether the person is under the influence. Bostec helps employers identify the signs that their workers might be abusing alcohol, marijuana, prescription medication or other drugs, and we help identify and establish policies against drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

Step 3: Meet with the employee. This meeting always should be conducted in the presence of a witness, and it always should follow the procedures laid out in the company workplace drug policy.

Step 4: Conduct a reasonable suspicion test. Any time you have reason to be suspicious, you must conduct a drug test. Not doing so is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Of course, one of the most important things you can do as a company is plan ahead. Ensure that your company culture supports employees both on and off the job, working with them to address any issues that might lead to drug use or alcohol abuse. Get procedures in place for handling reporting. Make sure that the rules are clear regarding consequences and next steps in situations like this. You’ll also want to be sure that your team members — especially your supervisors — have been trained to identify when employees are under the influence. One of our missions at Bostec is to help business owners and supervisors feel comfortable that their employees are safe from the influence of drugs while at work. To do that, we offer extensive training for companies in the recognition of drug and alcohol abuse.

Explore: A clear, written policy is key to avoiding workplace drug problems

With a supportive company environment and solid procedures in place regarding a drug-free workplace, you’ll be in great stead should a situation arise in which an employee is suspected of being under the influence.

For more advice, or to get started on crafting your own company policy, give the experts at Bostec a call. We have years of experience working with companies throughout the Pacific Northwest solving these exact problems.

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