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#154909 - 11/25/04 05:20 AM Employee drug problem
Pat@Amber Offline

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 107
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD USA
I've got an employee with a hard drug problem. I don't want to fire him (not even sure I can legally) because he is great when he is straight. Anyone dealt with this problem and how did you handle it?
What are my legal rights and and what are his legal rights?
Thanks for any help.
Power to the people

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#154910 - 11/25/04 06:27 AM Re: Employee drug problem
Electric Eagle Offline

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
We now do pre-employment drug screening. I just don't want the risk. My best (past) employee is now in jail on drug related charges. This guy was FAST and good. The guy would come in early and stay as late as I needed. He would even clean up the truck while he ate lunch. He was a dream employee, unfortunately he was using crystal meth. When he gets out of jail I might hire him back with testing, but I doubt he can perform to his previous level without the drugs.

[This message has been edited by Electric Eagle (edited 11-25-2004).]

#154911 - 11/25/04 07:51 AM Re: Employee drug problem
John Steinke Offline

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 509
Loc: Reno,Nv., USA
I can only say- with sorrow- that the only approach is one of no tolerance. Period. Since drug use is often accompanied by denial and deceit, you are often forced to draw your own conclusions, and find some other reason to let the guy go.

Meth-heads are a particular cross to bear. They are often energetic, with exceptional "people" skills, and present a clean-cut, respectable face. Nevertheless, their logic/judgement is erratic, and they sooner or later crash. bad. You'll also find that they've been doing things in some very unorthodox ways.

I believe in the Navy approach: Not on MY watch, Not on MY ship, not in MY Navy.

#154912 - 11/25/04 10:32 AM Re: Employee drug problem
DougW Offline

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1083
Loc: North Chicago, IL
There's also a liability factor. My old shop had a relative (cousin / nephew) that wound up strung out on something. When he got wind he was going to be canned, he took one of the company vans home one night, and never showed for work in the morning.

They found the van (empty, but otherwise intact) by his girlfriend's apartment building. And of course, sharing a last name, all of the equipment being marked didn't make it obvious.

#154913 - 11/25/04 01:23 PM Re: Employee drug problem
maintenanceguy Offline

Registered: 12/02/01
Posts: 303
Loc: Southern NJ, USA
A few years ago, I had a great guy working for me. Honest, hard working, dependable, would do whatever needed to be done, whatever hours I needed. Just a great guy.

He had a drug problem and I didn't know it. Started being just a little less dependable. But he had been so great that I was willing to overlook a few things.

Then some stuff started missing from the shop occasionally. I never suspected he was taking any of it. But he was.

Lost his temper a few times in really inapproprate places and kind of went bizerk for no reson. I still didn't suspect drugs.

I ended up firing him once I figured it out (and some people explained to me what was really going on with him.)

You can fire him for using drugs unless he's enterig a treatment program for it. And you can sure fire him for being late, missing work, or whatever symptoms he's showing. And do it quick because he can and will damage your business in some way.

#154914 - 11/25/04 07:23 PM Re: Employee drug problem
electure Offline


Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
You might take him aside and suggest that he try a program of abstinence and recovery (NA, for example) if he's serious about keeping his job. Explain that if it continues, you'll have to let him go (and be ready to follow through with it)
Drug use can not only cause you a liability, but can endanger the others around him because of his mental state. What may seem to him like a good idea could injure or kill someone else.

You may end up with an employee that's better than ever...and all the time!

You're not doing yourself any good by keeping an employee that's on dope, and maybe just as or maybe even more important, you're not doing him any good by enabling this behavior. He'll never seek help if he's comfortable with the way things are.
Good luck

#154915 - 11/26/04 04:58 PM Re: Employee drug problem
Pat@Amber Offline

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 107
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD USA
Thanks for the input everybody. I'm going to sit down and have a long chat with him tomorrow and I'l let you know how things turn out.
Power to the people

#154916 - 11/26/04 05:18 PM Re: Employee drug problem
twh Offline

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 895
Loc: Regina, Sask.
So, the perfect employee gets to work early, stays late, is always personable, without drugs. By the way, alcohol is a drug, and it is one that allows some of us to do what you ask.

When I took my current job, I questioned my employer's ability to pay my wage. You aren't the only ones doing the selecting.

When drug testing is mandatory, I vow that it will include employers.

Pee here...NOW!

Edited for usual typo's.

[This message has been edited by twh (edited 11-26-2004).]

#154917 - 11/26/04 05:54 PM Re: Employee drug problem
slumlordworker Offline

Registered: 12/20/03
Posts: 88
Loc: south bend indiana
my personal opinion if you find out that a CRACKHEAD is working for you fire them asap and change all locks and codes let all suppliers and some higher end contractors know that this person is a CEACKHEAD. trust me I have worked with these pieces of human feces and seriously believe that they all should be killed. They lie they still they are unreliable and worthless. Thet will go into withdrawl which I call the SUPERFLU. and once in this state they will do anything for that rock just to chase jason these are just my views and i have seen and lived thru the crap junkies will put u thru. Our company test regularly atleast 7 test a year.

hope i didnot offend anyone but once a relative has destroyed a family with drug use it is easy to think this way

#154918 - 11/27/04 05:11 AM Re: Employee drug problem
iwire Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
At the company I work for we have about a 1000 total employees, with that many some are defiantly drug users.

No one gets fired without a paper trail to protect the company from lawsuits.

Sure we can fire anyone for being late but there must be documentation of the person being late, being warned etc.

As has been pointed out you can not fire someone with a drug (that includes alcohol) problem if they are "getting help" it is considered a disability.

I am no bleeding heart, I am only explaining how it goes here and the company still occasionally faces wrongful termination lawsuits.

You have to make sure you effort to CYA has not left you wide open for a hit from another direction.

Good luck, Bob
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

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