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Health Management - Health Challenges - Suspect employee under the influence

Human Resources

Health
Management

Health Management

Suspect employee under the influence

Health Challenges

Start with a discussion

Immediately have your employee go to a private room. Ask them to wait for you and explain that you need to speak to them before they return to work.

Make sure there is another manager, supervisor, leader or Corporate Security (available 24/7) in the room so that there is someone else there to witness the discussion and provide a second opinion.

Remain calm and don’t jump to conclusions

Don’t get emotional, threatening, angry or accusative. Be sensitive and be respectful. Don’t immediately conclude you are dealing with a substance issue. Some medical conditions or medications can mirror the behaviour of a person under the influence of a substance.

Keep talking with the employee to determine fitness for work

Give your employee a chance to explain his or her behavior. Remember, there are some medical conditions that result in behavior or physical signs that mirror the signs of substance use. >/p>

During the conversation:

  • Avoid comments that are speculative
  • Base comments on observable facts
  • Start generally to avoid putting the employee on the defensive
  • Ask the employee directly about their fitness to work and give the employee an opportunity to explain the reasons for their behaviour
  • Ask the employee whether they have consumed anything at work, or prior to work, that would impact their abilities to perform their duties
  • Take notes of questions, responses and additional observations during the meeting

Take a break

Take time to discuss your observations with the colleague who was in the room with you. At this point, you need to decide if the employee is fit for work or if you need to investigate further.

Once you have reached this critical decision point. Consult with your Human Resources Advisor if this is a new process for you. Refer to the Substance Use Guidelines (link) for detailed steps and responsibilities.

If your employee is in a non-safety sensitive position and they…

Acknowledge they are unfit for work due to substance use during that conversation:

  1. Suspend the employee pending investigation
  2. Let them know that they are expected to return fit for work at their next scheduled shift
  3. Explain that an investigative meeting will happen when they return
  4. Make arrangements to get them home safely by either using the taxi process or calling someone to pick them up
  5. Consult with your Human Resources Advisor to prepare for the investigative meeting
  6. Arrange mandatory assessment by a Corporate Health Consultant

Don’t acknowledge substance use:

  1. Determine if there is another reasonable explanation for his or her behavior
  2. If no explanation is offered, consult your Human Resources Advisor and arrange for substance testing
  3. If the test comes back positive or negative, suspend the employee pending an investigation
  4. Let them know that they are expected to return fit for work at their next scheduled shift
  5. Explain that an investigative meeting will happen when they return
  6. Make arrangements to get them home safely by either using the taxi process or calling someone to pick them up
  7. Consult with your Human Resources Advisor to prepare for the investigative meeting
  8. Arrange mandatory assessment by a Corporate Health Consultant

If your employee is in a safety sensitive position…

  1. Contact Lifemark Health to arrange for reasonable grounds testing, whether the employee acknowledges substance use or not
  2. If the test comes back positive or negative, suspend the employee pending an investigation
  3. Let them know that they are expected to return fit for work at their next scheduled shift
  4. Explain that an investigative meeting will happen when they return
  5. Make arrangements to get them home safely by either using the taxi process or calling someone to pick them up
  6. Consult with your Human Resources Advisor to prepare for the investigative meeting
  7. Arrange mandatory assessment by a Corporate Health Consultant

The decision to have an employee submit to substance testing always involves a balance between the employer’s right to manage a safe and healthy workplace and the individual’s right to privacy. Before making a decision to have the employee tested, they must be given an opportunity to offer an explanation for their performance or behaviours.

What to do if ...

Suspect employee of substance use

Employee comes forward acknowledging substance use

Who can help?

Your HR Advisor can discuss your situation and provide advice. If you don't know who your HR Advisor is call HR Support Services at 403-268-5800.

Supporting documents

Substance Use Policy

Substance Use Policy Guidelines

Substance Use Checklist



Next: Treatment process for substance use