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Identify employees with substance-abuse problems

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in Employee Benefits Program,Firing,Hiring,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Chances are, at least one employee you know suffers from a drug or alcohol problem. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 million people regularly show up for work while under the influence.

If you suspect one of your employees has a problem, don't immediately confront the employee or insist that he or she seek treatment. Instead, follow these steps:

1. Don't try to diagnose the employee. Instead, focus on documenting on-the-job performance problems. That lowers the organization's risk of wrongful-termination lawsuits and other legal problems.

2. Ask for advice from HR. They'll be able to tell you what type of counseling and treatment services are available for the employee, either through the organization's insurance plan or employee assistance program (EAP).

3. Discuss the performance issues with the employee. Set specific consequences for what will happen if performance and conduct issues aren't cleared up. Without making specific accusations, let the employee know what resources are available (counseling, EAP, local resources). Avoid moralizing or accusations about possible substance abuse.

4. If the situation continues, meet with the employee again to review the performance issues and remind him or her about available resources. Don't link treatment with continued employment.

5. Use drug testing cautiously with input from HR. Ideally, the organization should have a written policy regarding drug use in place beforehand.

6. Act as a role model. As manager, your own actions speak volumes about what will be tolerated.

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