At my place of employment we just completed a routine round of random drug and alcohol testing.
Why? Well, I don’t want to get into any kind of debate on legalizing marijuana (Christina) or other substances. But at this refinery-type plant many jobs are deemed “safety critical.” That means that errors in judgment or performance can cause injuries or death. For those jobs (at least) we have both a moral and a legal obligation to take steps to prevent impaired employees from endangering themselves and others.
One generally accepted way of “controlling” this risk is a program of random drug testing.
But one of the risks you suffer WITH such a program is that you might actually catch someone. We did, yesterday.
He told us before he was tested that he knew he would fail. He was devastated. His biggest concern? He knew that he’d have to tell his wife.
The marriage was already troubled. He feared this might be too much of a blow for it to survive.
I spent some time with him this morning going over his options. He will not lose his job, or even any of his base pay, if he really wants to keep working here. It’s his choice.
Assuming he DOES want to keep his job, we’ll place him on medical leave and require that he report to our designated independent Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) on Monday. She will create a program for him. Those details will be private between her and her patient. She will report to me ONLY the fact of his compliance (or not) with her program, and let me know when he is ready to report back for work.
Noncompliance = no job.
As a condition of employment he must then agree that any subsequent positive test will result in his termination.
The key to all of this, as I stressed today, is that it’s all his choice.
He never gave a prior thought to the impact his earlier choice (to abuse the drug) might have on not just him, but also his family and those who work with him. He has lost a level of trust that took years to create. It’s going to be a tough job to recreate that trust. It can be done, though.
I hope he beats the odds and makes it. I really do.
File this under “The Joys of a Career in Human Resources.”