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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 workEmployees 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 abuseIt 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.


Issues related with employee alcohol and drug abuse  
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