Employers must be more aware than ever of drugs in the workplace. The workplace is quickly becoming a safe and easy place to buy, sell, and use illegal drugs because drug use has become so prolific. When this occurs companies tend to suffer from productivity losses, increased overhead output, theft and embezzlement by workers.
It is often difficult for the employer to deal with crimes that occur in the workplace as a result of illegal drugs. Employers may not be familiar with all of the laws governing criminal investigations and may fear reprisals from employees in the form of legal issues.
To put a stop to drug related crimes in the workplace employers must work with law officials and create strict company policies that are enforced.
Negative Effects of Illegal Drug Use in the Workplace
Where do most working men and women who abuse drugs buy illegal drugs? Experts report that the majority of workers using illegal drugs today do not buy from dealers on the street – they are able to procure their drugs from their fellow employees and around the workplace. Plus, up to six percent of Australians report consuming alcohol on a regular basis at work.
Illegal drug use by employees has numerous detrimental effects on a company. Alcohol and illegal drug use in the workplace can result in physical harm to the employee and productivity losses to the company. A worker using illegal drugs has a:
• Higher chance of filing a workman’s compensation claim
• Higher chance of being involved in serious accidents while on the job
• Higher rate of reporting to late work and taking extended sick leave
Crime and drugs in the workplace lead to other loss problems for employers. Workers abusing illegal drugs have impaired judgment, do not work up to company standards, and bring down company morale.
Is Drug Abuse Occurring in Your Workplace?
When an employer fears that drug abuse and crime is occurring within his or her company it is time to take immediate action. The first step is to look internally and discover the extent of the problem. This normally involves a review of company policies. As an employer it’s important to ensure that you have an up-to-date drug policy in place and all employees are aware of the policy.
The next step is to assess the issue. This may involve asking if theft has taken place, if the employee has a high rate of absenteeism or lateness, if the employee’s drug use has resulted in accidents, and/or if production has slowed down. It is also important to determine what illegal substances are being used and to what extent.
After assessing the issue the employer will need to seek legal advice. It is important to protect the company and other employees from litigation even if a strict drug policy is in place.
Finally, the employer will work with law enforcement to bring the problem to a successful end. Law enforcement agencies will work with the company to determine what measures will best resolve the problem.
Every company must take a strong stand against drugs in the workplace. The best action an employer can take is to uphold a strict drug policy. Crime and drugs do not have to be partners in the workplace.
Ensuring workers are not using drugs or alcohol is important. CMM Technology (http://www.cmm.com.au/) has a wide range of high quality drug and alcohol testing kits for both saliva and urine drug tests.
Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace. (n.d.). Retrieved from Drug and Alcohol Services of south Australia: http://www.dassa.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=153
The Impact of Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace. (n.d.). Retrieved from Safework: http://www.safework.sa.gov.au/uploaded_files/workplace_report.pdf