Would Firing Your Employees Make Your Workplace Safe?

If your employees are engaging in drug or alcohol abuse in the workplace, you may believe that dismissal is the only way out. After all, not only is their abuse in the workplace illegal, but it can also be a safety hazard. Are there less drastic, more progressive steps which you can take before you fire your substance abusing employees? More importantly, what are some of the ways in which employee substance abuse can pose hazards to your business?

Henry H. Perritt, Jr. states that the reputation and business activity of a company must be protected, and that any activity such as an arrest of an employee can negatively affect the reputation of said business. [1] If we followed Perritt’s suggestions, this would mean that safety sensitive companies would have to fire unreliable employees even based solely upon drug testing results. Reputation is important and a bad reputation can be a risk to your business. This should be evaluated depending upon how much threat to your business brand your employees really are.

Physical danger is another aspect to consider. In a study by J. Michael Crant and Thomas S. Bateman, employee drug abuse can lead to absenteeism, stealing, illness, damage to products or production machinery and injury to oneself or to other employees. [2] It is important not only to maintain a safe working environment, but to also foster a sense of safe protection in other employees. Physical danger is not only a direct hazard, but can slow down production speed due to concern about personal safety.

Emotional stability is also a key function of a safe and productive workplace. Robert J. Johnson and Howard B. Kaplan state that any emotional or psychological impairment in a child or youth can be exacerbated and continued into adulthood through drug abuse. [3] These emotional instabilities are shown to be much more evolved and dangerous to others by the time that adulthood has been reached and the causal drugs have been regularly abused. Physical safety is not the only thing compromised in a drug abusing employee on the job. Overall happiness and a sense of production and accomplishment are virtually eliminated by the time substance abuse has been continued over several years.

Employee substance abuse can greatly affect how businesses are run, the speed of production, the safety of employees, the emotional stability of your staff, and even your overall business reputation. Employee drug testing should be made a vital part of business strength, resources and marketing plans. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Perritt, Henry H.. Employee dismissal law and practice . 2nd ed. New York: Wiley Law Publications, 1987. Print.
2. Crant, J. Michael, and Thomas Bateman. “A model of employee responses to drug testing programs.” Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, Volume 2, Number 3. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2011. http://www.springerlink.com/content/n287154j500n1376/.
3. Johnson, Robert, and Howard Kaplan. “Stability of Psychological Symptoms: Drug Use Consequences and Intervening Processes.” JSTOR. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2011. http://www.jstor.org/pss/2136892.

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