By Nardia Vescovi-Diss
Great work, you’ve got your policies and procedures in place regarding Drugs and Alcohol, you’re taking a preventative approach and building it into your recruitment and wellbeing strategies, and all of your team have signed off that they understand the policy, all sorted!
And then, one of your Managers calls to say they think one of their team has developed a drug habit. They’re showing some typical signs; their utilisation of sick leave has gone up without explanation, they’re typically a great performer and all of a sudden their performance at work has dropped off. Usually well presented, their presentation could now be described as ‘messy’, and they’re asking for an advance on their pay which they’ve never done before.
What do you do and who do you call?
Firstly, has your Manager had a conversation with their team member to check if things are ok? Many people find it really difficult to have what can be an awkward conversation but, in the course of that discussion, a very reasonable reason may be disclosed, there may be issues in the family, such as illness, or a relationship breakdown and they didn’t feel comfortable raising it. In the first instance, we would always recommend taking a humane approach by reaching out and giving people the opportunity to explain.
If you do decide that the activation of your drugs and alcohol policy is required and it’s time to request a drug test, Dr Charles Appleton, Pathologist in Charge of Biochemistry at Queensland Medical Laboratory (QML) advises that ‘All testers must be appropriately trained and have a certificate “HLTPAT005 – Collect pathology specimens other than blood”. Using an accredited provider is important to ensure that there’s no room for a challenge of the results in the event that a positive result is returned and disciplinary action needs to be instigated, or in the event of an incident resulting in harm to a worker that needs to be investigated.
Something else to consider is the provision of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide confidential support to your team member and your management team as they negotiate the complexities of dealing with these types of issues. More about this in the last in this series of blogs, coming shortly.
Need help dealing with these issues, or an awkward conversation? Talk to one of our Employee Experts now.
Our thanks go to Dr Charles Appleton and Specialist Diagnostic Services (SDS) who are one of Australia’s largest medical laboratory networks, integral in providing the highest standards of medical testing services across Australia. They have extensive experience, resources and national coverage to provide the best possible services for your organisation. They also hold NATA accreditation including AS4308 (urine) and AS4760 (saliva).