Q: What do I do if I suspect an employee is at work after using alcohol or drugs?
A: Employers should observe and document the behaviors (e.g., loss of coordination, slurred speech, strong odor of alcohol or drugs) indicating impairment and discuss the situation with the employee. An employee’s denial of use may not be credible depending upon the situation and the employer’s observations. Employers must then decide what action to take. Employers should consider the seriousness of the conduct, the employee’s response, and any applicable policies or practices in making this decision. Employers should also be aware that retaining the employee may expose them potential negligence liability if the employee harms someone while impaired at work. Employees suspected of being impaired at work should not be permitted to drive home.
Employers who drug test should go through a similar process of observing and documenting employee behavior to determine if there is reasonable suspicion under their policies to send the employee to be tested. Employee reasonably suspected of being impaired should be driven to the testing facility.