Friday, June 3, 2016

Reasonable Suspicion Training: How DOT Supervisors Enable--Even If They Drug/Alcohol Experts

If you don't think you are capable of enabling an employee who has a drug and alcohol problem, think again. Reasonable suspicion training often includes, and it must include all the signs, symptoms, effects, impact, dangers, etc. of drug and alcohol use. However, there is no requirement for supervisors to understand how all of this is undermined by enabling, so here is the list of enabling behaviors you are vulnerable to:
  • Ignoring job performance problems of the DOT employee, hoping they will go away, or are temporary.(This is an easy one to do on a busy and harried day.)
  • Threatening disciplinary action without following through on such threats. (It's just so much trouble, and maybe things will turnaround.)
  • Avoiding confrontation of employees who are considered friends. (Woops. The employee will say you are pot calling the kettle black.)
  • Avoiding confrontation because you are a heavy drinker like the employee needing referral. (Your drinking problem is worse!) The honest answer to this problem is to ignore your drinking issues for the time being, and do your job. Yes, that is best decision for now.
  • Accepting excuses for ongoing job performance problems.
  • Accepting employee’s request to avoid use of the EAP in favor of other helping options.
  • Ignoring the return of job performance problems after an EAP referral until they reach a intolerable level.
  • Not acting to arrange a reasonable suspicion breath test when the odor of alcohol exists—accepting explanations (medicine, etc.) for it.
  • Protecting the employee from personnel actions while increasing personal involvement to assist the employee.

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