Monday, June 6, 2016

The Eyes and Ears of Supervisors Are Employees in Acting On Reasonable Suspicion

Sorry to say it, but it's true. Employees are key in reasonable suspicion training, so they need employee awareness training in substance abuse.

Reasonable suspicion training includes education for supervisors about the signs and symptoms of possible drug or alcohol use on the job. This education is crucial, but here is the truth. Employees should also be educated. They are on the front lines in the fight against workplace substance abuse. They point to problems so supervisors can act. The problem getting in the way is enabling.

Although the federal regulations say nothing for the most part about employees being educated about drugs and alcohol on the job and the various signs and symptoms that demonstrate potential use, coworkers are by default, the eyes and ears of the supervisor. Don't get me wrong. This is not their job, and training should never include any direction or guidance or even suggest that they should be the eyes and ears of the supervisor, but guess what: They are. That's the reality.

This happens by employees recognizing that something is wrong or knowing something associated with drug and alcohol use on the job is occurring, and then informing the supervisor who takes the proper action. If you do not educate employees as part of the reasonable suspicion training curriculum at least to the extent that they will stop enabling their fellow coworkers, then it is unlikely that you will obtain the impact you want from your DOT reasonable suspicion training of supervisors.

DOT Supervisor Training and Reasonable Suspicion Training should discuss the following enabling behaviors. These are the most common enabling behaviors of employees that will undermine your drug free workplace. Can you think of any others to include in your reasonable suspicion training for supervisors? 1) Accepting apologies and assurances for the temporary nature of problems. 2) Failing to confront problems caused by absenteeism and tardiness. 3) Doing the job of coworker.  Feeling sorry for coworker. 4) Caring and understanding “too much.” 5) Failing to confront drinking practices for fear of losing a friend.  6) Considering coworker a “functional alcoholic” who doesn’t affect you (yet.) 7) Protecting a coworker from management. 8) Promising to confront coworker if problems gets worse, and then adapting to “worse”, and not confronting coworker. 9) “Working around” the personality or drinking pattern of the alcoholic in order to have a functional relationship (i.e., anticipating mood swings, irritability in work interactions.) 9) Loaning large amounts of money. You can get a handout that includes these items in the DOT reasonable suspicion training program avialable in PowerPoint, DVD, Video, or online web course for reasonable suspicion training online.

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