As an employer, you will be aware that there are many actions that you can take that benefit your business, but one such action which may not have been at the forefront of your thoughts is the help you provide to an employee who requires drug rehab. Discovering that an employee has a drug addiction, such as an ice addiction, either via an internal investigation or by that individual approaching you and admitting they have a drug addiction throws up many questions, which can include,
- How long has their drug addiction existed?
- Have they been taking drugs on the business premises?
- Has it affected their work?
- Are there other employees who may have a drug addiction?
- Do I need to replace this employee?
- Can I help this employee?
- How do I help this employee
- Is there a cost to the business?
One question that is not on that list, but is probably the main one to answer is “What Do I Do Next?”. This is what most employers will have going through their minds when drug addiction blight one of their employees. Presumably, your business will have a drugs policy that is available in employee handbooks. In most cases, you should refer to that policy for your next step.
Hopefully, you are an employer whose drug policy is one that strongly discourages drug taking amongst employees, but also outlines steps the business will take to support any employee succumbing to drug addiction. For those that take a draconian view and think all drug use should be punished, we simply point out that drug addiction is classified as an illness not a choice and an enlightened employer would view it in that way.
Beyond the moral element of supporting drug-addicted employees, we emphasise that taking that supportive approach can generate more benefits for your business than instantly sacking an employee. Here are some examples of those benefits.
You Retain An Excellent Employee
One of the key thoughts an employer may have is that the person with drug addiction is otherwise one of the best and most important employees within the business. It can be the case that their work was never negatively influenced by their drug addiction. As such, compare having to go through the process of dismissing them, recruiting a replacement, training them and the risk that they are not as competent as the existing employee that you could have supported and retained.
You Become Known As A Thoughtful Employer
Attracting great staff can be difficult given the competition from other employers. When prospects are job searching, they are as much assessing the employer, as they are the job description and salary. If it comes to light that you do little to support employees and sack them at the merest hint of a problem then do not be surprised if you see other employers in your sector attracting all the top candidates.
You Avoid Legal Issues And Possible Compensation Payouts
Unless you operate in a safety-critical environment, you can find yourself facing legal problems if you summarily dismiss an employee who has admitted to having a drug addiction. We remind you that drug addiction is an illness and thus many employment courts would take the same dim view of your action if you were to sack someone who told you they had asthma. Dismissing due to drug addiction is a legal minefield, and a supportive policy, rather than a punitive one is preferable.