Asking an employee to submit to a drug test can be a delicate matter. If done in the wrong manner, the request can come across as an accusation and the employee will immediately be put on the defensive. However, there are times when the need to screen an employee who is showing erratic behavior outweighs the possible hurt feelings that will ensue.
For this reason, many companies choose to pre-screen potential employees as a condition of employment and also use random drug testing as a way to possibly discover any potential safety threats without making anyone feel that he or she is being singled out. Requiring that all employees pass a breathalyser test before working ensures workplace safety, and also does so in a manner that is non-accusatory due to the fact that the entire workforce needs to comply with the policy. However, requiring daily drug tests is not only tedious, but it would be expensive and unnecessary.
The signs that an employee may be under the influence of any type of drug are not always obvious, but the more obvious signs should be paid attention to. Any changes in a person’s reaction time, mood and general ability to make decisions could indicate a possibility that the person is under the influence of some substance. However, the person could also be fatigued, going through personal issues at home or be dealing with another health issue. Good communication is instrumental in finding out more information that could rule out drugs as the issue at hand.
If an employee is repeatedly showing possible symptoms of substance misuse or abuse however, it would then be a good time to ask them to submit to a drug screen. Try not to use an accusatory tone when requesting the test and approach it from the standpoint of concern for that person’s well-being as well as that of the rest of the workforce. Simply telling the employee that you want to rule drugs out as a possibility and assuring him or her of the confidentiality of the test will help to ease his or her mind in the instance that drugs are not the issue.
Whether drugs are the cause of an employee’s sudden change in performance or not, be sure to pay attention to any person’s irregular behavior that can endanger other workers. The issue may not always be related to substance abuse, but there are times when it not a bad thing to try to eliminate it as a possibility. Requesting a drug screen in the proper situation could save another person’s life.
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