If your company does drug testing and one of your employees tests positive, it is important to know how to proceed.
First, you should follow your drug testing policy. Do you have a pre-employment policy? Do you have a “zero tolerance” policy, which means you would terminate the employee immediately? Do you offer a “last chance agreement”? Does your policy allow you to rehire the employee after a period of time once he has been terminated under zero tolerance? There are many things to consider when deciding how to handle drug use in your workplace.
As an employee assistance provider with over 20 years of experience working with employers, employees and drug testing programs, we strongly recommend the following:
If you are thinking about starting a drug testing program or engaging the services of an EAP, we can offer affordable, professional services for companies of any size. Contact us for more information. at 425-557-0907.
Negativity is a habit. It is contagious and quite common in many workplaces and can easily become part of a company’s culture. Negativity can include gossiping, poor morale, badmouthing management or the company, lack of enthusisasm, bullying, harassment, and lack of loyalty to the employer. Restructuring a negative workplace can take years. Therefore, it is better to prevent negativity from occuring in the first place and when it does arise, recognize it and nip it in the bud.
According to Cheryl DeMarco http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Cheryl_DeMarco, some business consequences of workplace negativity can be:
Errors and poor work quality
Increased employee turnover
Absence and tardiness
Loss of loyalty to the organization
Negativity has a tremendous impact on a company’s bottom line. It will also affect the worker, emotionally and physically and when employees work in a negative environment, it is hard not to take it home with them.
As a manager, be consciously aware of someone’s attitude when determining if you wish to hire them. Look for hints of negativity and if you pick it up, listen to your gut and don’t hire that person. Also, carefully listen for negativity when requesting references. If you have an employee who has become negative, react quickly. Meet with the employee and discuss your observations and concerns. Sometimes the reasons may be justifiied and you should acknowledge that and help find ways to resolve the cause, if possible. Help this person take responsibility for their negativity. Even if there are valid concerns for one’s feelings it is not appropriate to express them negatively at work. You may not be able to change someone’s point of view but you can influence behavior during work hours. Describe exactly what you expect. Tell the employee exactly what you have observed and how if has affected the company and co-workers. Help the employee replace negative behaviors with more positive ones. Negative behavior is a performance issue and it may be very approprate to refer the individual to the EAP as a management referral. When you use the EAP as a partner with management, you can monitor an employee’s motivation to improve and their progress, while staying out of the personal issues or details.
If the behavior has been ocurring within a group of employees, it would be advisable to consult with the EAP about how to handle the situation. Depending on what is happening and the causes for the negativity, it may be appropriate to meet with the group together or to meet with individuals separately.
Unfortunately, sometimes you will have no choice but to fire a really negative person. As a leader, you model by example and if you allow a negative or inappropriate employee to remain, it sets a bad tone. Be the change you want to see.
For information on preventing or dealing with negativity in your workplace and how the EAP can help, contact us at 425-557-0907.
Coaching your employees can be a very worthwhile venture. As company owners, managers and supervisors, we are often looking for ways to increase revenue and manage costs. Sometimes we overlook our greatest assets- our employees. In order to build loyalty and morale, employees must feel they are a valuable and important member of the organization in which they work. When employees and supervisors communicate well and work together towards the common goals of their organization, productivity and morale will improve and employees will be happier. Keeping long term, loyal employees is far more cost-effective than recruiting and retraining new employees who have replaced burnt out, unmotivated, unproductive employees. Well coached employees are creative forces who can be counted on to provide solutions their supervisors may not have considered. As an employer, you may want to consider training supervisors to coach their employees.
Supervisors can become good employee coaches by learning and engaging in the following:
1. Learn your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. This helps the coaching relationship create positive results.
2. Identify barriers to success. These barriers can be limitations such as a lack of resources or education, information, training, a positive attitude or more.
3. Determine what motivates your employees. There are many types of motivators and different things work for different people. Once understood, motivators become powerful tools for helping employees remain enthusiastic about learning and coping with chage. One of the the most important and overlooked motivator is good communication between the supervisor and employee. Employees appreciate knowing what is going on in their organization and having an open door policy with their supervisors.
4. Communicate your organization’s strategic direction and the company’s goals. Helping employees to understand the “bigger picture” is very beneficial to the coaching process.
5. Learn when it is appropriate to intervene with an employee when an error could create substantially negative consequences to the employee or the company as a whole. The supervisor must learn when to avoid a pattern of rescuing or jumping in too early which can undermine the employee but also when to step in.
Successful employee coaching helps employees understand goals and expectatons to that they may act instead of waiting for instruction. Because coached employees don’t have every solution dictated to them from above, they tend to take greater ownership of their work and demonstrate greater responsibility than employees who are not coached.
Coached employees are also better prepared to maximize their potential. With that, everyone wins.
This blog article was written from excerpts of an article written by Daniel Feerst, LiCSW,-CP www.workexcel.net
If you would like more information about how we coach managers and supervisors, please contact us at email@example.com
Most employers retain the services of an Employee Assistance Program to help employees and their families with personal and work related problems. If employees function well at work, they contribute to the well being of an organization as a whole. Most EAP’s help with a wide range of problems including stress, depression, anxiety, family or relationship difficulties, work issues, financial, legal, worklife, work problems and more. An EAP can be highly effective at reducing employee problems and increasing the bottom line. However, there are many choices in the EAP market and like all services, it is important to understand what you need and what you are receiving from your current or potential vendor. The following is a list of the top ten reasons to have an EAP:
1. Increase productivity
When employees are faced with personal problems, their concentration, focus and motivation are all negatively impacted so an EAP can help them deal with these issues which will improve productivity. An EAP reduces absenteeism, accidents and turnover, thereby making employees more productive.
2. Reduce Company Costs
Employee problems are costly. Troubled employees take more sick days, have more accidents, and make more health insurance claims. When employees suffer emotionally, their work and productivity also suffer. An EAP will improve work peformance and help increase the bottom line.
When a third party company provides EAP services, employees are more likely to seek help, when they know their employer is not privy to their confidential personal information. Employers are not put in the position of assisting employees with personal problems when they are not trained or equipped to do so. They are able to manage people but not their problems.
4. Aids in the Recruitment and Rentention of Valued Employees
An EAP is a value-added benefit for employees and their families which provides confidential access to counseling and resources they might not otherwise have. It builds morale and loyalty when employees know their employer supports their physical and emotional well being.
5. Resolution of Work Related Problems
EAP’s help employees deal with personal problems that have begun to affect work peformance which will hopefully prevent termination and get the employee back on track. The EAP can also help the employee to develop skills to deal with work related stress and problematic work relationships.
6. Assistance in Getting the Right Help
When left to their own devices, employees may be confused or overwhelmed about how to access services, treatment or counseling in their own community or may not even know where to turn. The EAP counselors sort out the issues and assist with appropriate referrals and resources for ongoing support and problem resolution.
7. Management Assistance
Managers and supervisors may need help confronting and dealing with problematic employees or workplace situations. The EAP provides management training, coaching and consultation. The EAP can also assist with drug testing, harassment and potential workplace violence.
8. Drug Testing Programs
The EAP can assist employers with their drug testing programs by providing assessments, referrals, case management and assistance with Return to Work Agreements when employees test positive for drugs at work. Drug testing prevents serious accidents, injuries and fatalities and the EAP can help employees get back on track without losing their jobs.
The EAP can provide online and onsite training to employees and supervisors on a range of topics. Training also increases awareness of the EAP. Most EAP’s also provide critical incident debriefings after a traumatic event has occured at the worksite.
10. Resourcs and Referrals
The EAP can be a wealth of information for employers, employees and their families. Not only can the EAP counselors assist with the pyschological well being of employees, they can also assist with legal issues, childcare and eldercare referrals, treatment programs, community resources, human resource assistance and much more.
For information on how Fully Effective Employees can help your company, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying and overwhelming on many levels. The employee must determine her medical benefits and treatment options as well as define how her treatment may affect her work. It can be very difficult to share the news with one’s boss and co-workers. There is no correct way to disclose the diagnosis of breast cancer and it is important for employees to choose the way that feels best for them. Remember that while supervisors have a legal obligation not to disclose confidential employee information, co-workers do not. Employees may wish to inform management first, while other times, they are the last to know. While telling co-workers is not necessary, they can be a source of support both emotionally and with personal assistance. Some colleagues organize meal prepartion, asisstance with chores, fundraising or donating their sick days to the individual who has breast cancer.
Employers are required by Federal law to provide “reasonable accomodations” for anyone with a disability. According to the Americans wth Disabilities Act (ADA) cancer qualifies as a disability when the disease or its effects of treatment hinder an individual’s “major life activities”. These accomodations can vary greatly, depending upon a person’s need. According to the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), examples of accomodations include:
According to the EEOC, the word REASONABLE is key. Employees with breast cancer can’t make requests of their employer that would cause them “undue hardship”. The term “undue hardship” is different for every company. Smaller companies who have more difficulty operating without a key individual for a period of time and someone with unique or very specific skills who is not able to be at work regularly could pose a problem for some employers. However, most employers are willing to provide accomodations as much as possible.
Under the ADA, cancer qualifies on a case by case basis. The act protects individuals from losing their jobs due to disability and sets guidelines for employers regarding required accomodations. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also protects the jobs of people with a cancer diagnosis, however not everyone qualifies under FMLA. An employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months prior to the FMLA request and have worked more than 1250 hours in that calendar year. In addition, employers who have fewer than 50 employees do not have to follow FMLA regulations.
If you have an employee with breast cancer, it may be very helpful to ask her what she needs or wants. Does she want her colleagues to know? Does she want to take time or off or work reduced hours? What kind of accomodations does she need? As treatment progresses, she may have a better idea of how she feels or if she is responding to treatment. Employers need to be flexible with the plan whenever possible as the employee’s needs may change. The EAP can also be a great resource for the employee both by providing emotional support and brief counseling and also locating other resources to help her.
Sometimes an employee does not respond to treatment and the disease spreads or becomes very aggressive. Some employees choose to work until they are very ill, others do not. At this point, co-workers may be very upset about a friend and colleague’s deteriorating condition and may begin anticipatory grieving if she is terminally ill. While it can be very helpful and healing to meet as a staff group to process feelings, employers should be careful how this is handled. A group meeting could either be very helpful to the ill employee or perceived by her as inappropriate and make her very uncomfortable. It may be helpful to consult with the employee assistance program about the best course of action depending upon the situation. If an employee does pass away, the EAP can be very helfpful by assisting with a grief group and helping employees process their feelings in a confidential and safe environment. The EAP can also help the employer reach out to the family and plan a memorial at work if desired and appropriate.
Morneau Shepell, the largest Employee Assistance firm in Canada, released a new study that said that intervention through employee assistance programs leads to improved employee mental health and higher productivity, as well as a reduction of 25 percent in costs due to lost productivity.
The study collected data to measure four specific outcomes: general health status, mental health status, productivity, and absenteeism. Here are some of its findings:
75 percent of North American businesses have an employee assistance program and they are a key component of employee benefit plans. The Morneau Shepell study made two key recommendations:
1. Organizations should develop a more strategic partnership with their EAP provider as a first step in reallizing the return on investment. The provider can recommend strategies to optimize the use of the EAP as a preventative measure with the objective of saving costs on the bottom line and using the EAP to support the organization’s health priorities.
2. Organizations should consider a strategic approach to absence management, cost management and strategies related to employee engagement and retention.
For more information about this study go to http://bit.ly/kZ2Xx1
While 75 percent of employers may have an EAP, all programs are not alike. Employers should investigate their vendors to be sure they are meeting the needs of their company. The company contact or HR representative should have a good relationship with their EAP provider, with the ability to consult or to seek management assistance on a range of personnel issues.
Your EAP should be your partner in assisting with your employees’ emotional health. The more the employee assistance program is supported by management and promoted and marketed to employees, the more it will be used.
Healthy, happy and engaged employees will save their employers thousands in lost productivity, morale issues, performance problems and health insurance claims. Employees who feel supported by their employer will be loyal in both good and bad economic times.
Employers who don’t drug or alcohol test cannot prove that an employee’s injury was caused by his intoxication if a drug test is not offered.
In the case of McKinley v. Klein Steel, Inc., No. 09-CA-930 (La.Ct. App. 03.23.10), the Louisiana Court of Appeal upheld the award of temporary total disability benefits, attorney’s fees and penalties.
The summary: while carrying a stair railing at work, the employee stumbled and hit his head. The employer sent him to a nearby hospital where he was treated for a scalp laceration and released without a drug test and the employer made no effort to have him tested. He later underwent two spinal surgeries as a result of the accident. The employer’s insurer refused to pay workers’ compensation benefits, claiming the employee was intoxicated at the time of the accident, that he refused a drug test and provided false information to the hospital. The Court of Appeals upheld the award of benefits, finding that the employer failed to reasonably controvert the claim. It also awarded the employee penalties and attorney’s fees.
The court explained that a presumtion of intoxication arises when an employee affirmatively refuses a drug test. But because the hospital never offered a drug test, and one was never required by the employer, there was no opportunity for the employee to refuse one, nor was any other evidence of intoxication presented. The court also rejected the contention that the employee gave false information to the hospital to prevent them from verifying his workers’ compensation status. The employee correctly identified his employer to hospital staff but gave the incorrect contact name and number for the employer, being unaware that the individual no longer worked for the employer. Source: www.riskandinsurance.com
This court case emphasizes how important it is to have a drug testing policy which also includes post accident testing. If the employer could prove the employee was in fact intoxicated, they would have saved a lot of money.
For the past 75 years, Alcoholics Anonymous has been transforming lives through its 12-step recovery program. There are now more than 2 million members. AA was started in 1935 when two alcoholics- Dr. Bob, an Akron, Ohio doctor and Bill W., a New York stockbroker, created a confidential way for alcoholics to come together, share their stories and support each other. One of the bylaws included keeping confidentiality in order to make is safer for alcoholics to admit they had a problem and as a result, first names are only used. The famed “12 steps” to recovery is followed by members and has been a model for many alcohol treatment groups.
While chapters in different cities go by different names and specialize for certain populations such as women, men, sexual orientation, race, religion or profession, the message is the same: acceptance, anonymity, support, accountability and relying on a higher power.
Other 12-step groups have formed as offshoots from AA. These include NA (Narcotics Anonymous), DA (Debtors Anonymous) Alanon (for family members of alcoholics) as well as many more.
The belief in a higher power does not have to be a religious view, but rather the recognition of a kind of power higher than the self. The higher power referred to in AA could also be the complex dynamic of human interaction- the power of many over the power of one.
Founder, Bill W. believed that when addicts reach their “bottom”- job loss, financial ruin, legal difficulties. loss of a relationship, etc, he or she reaches a “softened” state of mind. It is this stage in their lives when addicts are willing to consider that they have become powerless over their use of addictive substances. At this point, their lives have become unmanageable and they have lost control.
Employers can have a profound impact on an employee’s recovery. If your company drug tests and they receive a “last chance agreement” requiring them to follow the recommendations of the Employee Assistance Program, this act may well be their “bottom”. As the employer, you are giving the employee the motivation to seek sobriety. Enabling or excusing addictive behavior allows the problem to increase. If you suspect an employee may have an alcohol or drug problem and your company does not do random or for cause drug testing, consult with the EAP. We can help you determine if there are performance issues and if so, you can refer the employee to the EAP for a performance issue and we can conduct an assessment to determine if there is also an addiction.
Employee safety should always be a primary concern so if an employee appears to be under the influence at work, have the employee removed from the job, tested or assessed and be sure they have a safe way to get home.
In over 35 years of providing EAP services, we have seen many employees lead sober and productive lives after attending AA meetings and/ or treatment programs. We know that despite the anger, resistance, excuses and denial, addicts live in a world of pain. Choosing to remain sober is the best choice an addict can make.
We will provide consultation, support and case management to employers and ongoing support to your employees throughout their journey towards recovery.