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Issues related with employee alcohol and drug abuse

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					          Issues related with employee alcohol and drug abuse

Uncontrolled consumption of alcohol and drugs is a serious health as well as societal
problem/issue for both addicts and to their families. This addiction to alcohol and drug may
prove more dangerous if such an addict is an employee who abuses alcohol and drugs
(including illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and Over the Counter or OTC drugs) either on
their own time or at work for their employers, managers and co-workers. The problems
arising out of such addiction may include accidents, diminished job performance, lowered
productivity, absenteeism, higher turnover and increased medical and worker compensation
bills.

Alcohol/drug use at work-

Employees who abuse drugs and alcohol can also make workplace more volatile and more
dangerous and they can expose employers to legal liability. For employers, dealing with
employees addicted to drugs and alcohol require certain rules to be framed in the form of an
employee handbook or through verbally announced workplace policies that should state that
drinking or using/consuming illegal drugs on the job is strictly prohibited. In case, an
employee is caught consuming alcohol or using drugs at work then the employer has every
right to take disciplinary action as per the concerned company’s disciplinary procedures.
Such action may range from an oral reminder to an immediate termination of the employee
from the job. The employers in certain cases may also refer the concerned employee to
alcohol and drug rehab center.

Offsite or Off-hours alcohol/drug abuse-

It has been observed that majority of employees consume or drink alcohol or use drugs
when not at work. Employers are not at all concerned with such employees having
occasional drinks during their off duty hours or even the occasional overindulgence as long
as it does not affect the concerned employees productivity or work performance. However,
employers may take action when such overindulgence spills over to the concerned
employees or worker’s performance leading to loss of productivity or accidents at the work
place. However, in such cases, the employer may advise the employee or worker to get use
the services of a reputed drug rehab center.

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and many state disability rights laws
protect alcoholics from workplace discrimination. The ADA does not allow employers to
make an employment decision based solely on the fact that an employee is an alcoholic. An
employer can however, make a decision based on the employee’s inability to meet the same
performance and productivity standards that it imposes on all employees. The illegal drug
use and possession at workplaces is another issue that requires the employer to deal with a
firm hand as selling or possessing illegal drugs is a crime and many employers immediately
terminate employees who engage in such type of behavior at work.

				
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Description: Uncontrolled consumption of alcohol and drugs is a serious health as well as societal problem/issue for both addicts and to their families.