Monday, July 18, 2016

DOT Supervisors Who Socialize and Drink with Employees

You may not want to hear this, but if you drink with your employees, go fishing, socialize, whoop it up and attempt to be one of the boys, you are at risk for reasonable suspicion training not doing you much good. No, I don't mean you aren't going to get anything out of the training. On the contrary, you are going to get a lot of education, but you are going to discover that you are greatly conflicted. That's because your loyalty to the employee, your own enjoyment of their company, the bonding you develop, the rationale you maintain for being their friend, the empathy you employ to understand all their problems is going to prevent you from "breaking bad" and confronting them with the mandate of taking a drug test if you smell alcohol on their breath at work and have enough observable and document-able information to require a reasonable suspicion test. You'll feel upset when this happens, and you will most likely wait, "give things more time," blow off the first occurrence, or keep any eye on things while promising yourself you are not enabling. No, instead your a "mindful" supervisor. Enabling with awareness of course is still enabling. Well, this entire conflict is called having a dual relationship. It is also referred to as a "conflict of interests." Your boss is the organization. Your paycheck originates there. And that is where your loyalty must be. Now, what are you going to do? You need to sit down with your employee and have a chat, and it is okay to make a presentation to your group that although you are friends, you will need to act on the company's alcohol and drug policy because if you do not, you put yourself and the organization risk. I will be the first to admit that this is a tough spot for any supervisor, but there are steps you can take now. And if you are a new supervisor in a DOT supervisory role, make this commitment now not to socialize with workers, especially around booze. This is grown up stuff. You will need to get socializing  needs met another way. It is comes with the territory.

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