Reasonable Suspicion


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Would you know if your company's P & P prohibiting illegal substances in the workplace were violated?

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Reasonable Suspicion

  2. 2. Presenter  Margie Roop, LPCC-S; CEAP; SAP  Regional Director, OH  Helpful reference: William J. Judge, JD, LL.M., Center for Drug Testing Information, Peoria, IL
  3. 3. Quiz  A supervisor sees someone who he feels is under the influence of a chemical substance…  Question: Can the supervisor send the person for testing without checking with another supervisor?
  4. 4. Quiz  An employee tells you that she saw another employee drinking from a wine bottle in a car in the employee parking lot.  Question: Can you ask that employee to go back and get more details for you?
  5. 5. Quiz  What is the primary drug of abuse within workplaces within the U.S.A.?
  6. 6. Quiz  Defenses such as anger, tears, diversion, apologies and excuses are utilized by the substance abuser to get you to do what?
  7. 7. Quiz  You highly suspect an employee of having a substance abuse problem…  Question: Can you tell them you think they have a substance abuse problem?
  8. 8. We’re almost there!  Irritability can sometimes denote a mood disorder (depression), but it can also denote what else?
  9. 9. Substance Abuse Trivia…  In Animal House, what would John Belushi yell before each party?
  10. 10. How about the women-folk? What woman or movie was this? Every time alcohol touched her lips, Bruce Willis could just not contain her!?
  11. 11. More trivia…  Dudley Moore starred in this movie where he was simply drunk most of the time!
  12. 12. I know that I am dating myself…..  Who would lock himself in this little town’s jail cell when he was drunk (don’t we wish they all did that)?  Extra credit: what was his last name?
  13. 13. Last one!  What famous alcoholic sang “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime…?”
  14. 14. WHY IS IDENTIFYING REASONABLE SUSPICION SO DIFFICULT?  We are not conditioned to LOOK for it at work…  Who, in their “right mind” would knowingly come into work under the influence?  The substance abuser is counting on you thinking this way!  Sometimes we DO see it but don’t want to confront it.
  15. 15. BUT, WE HAVE SEEN EXAMPLES OF REASONABLE SUSPICION IN OUR LIVES:  Browns’ games  Ethnic weddings  High school reunions  “Girls’ night out”  Bachelor/ette parties  New Year’s Eve  Super Bowl parties  “Uncle Louie/Aunt Helen”…  May we have even “been there-done that….?!”
  16. 16. However, we’d rather believe….  They just don’t feel very good....  They’re going through so much stress…  They’re just having a bad day…  Well, he told me he’s having serious medical problems...  She said she’s on some new medication…  It’s not my problem…
  17. 17. REASONABLE SUSPICION Reasonable Suspicion exists if specific objective facts and circumstances warrant rational inferences that a person is under the influence of alcohol or a banned substance (what?)….
  18. 18. U.S. CONSTITUTION, 4TH AMENDMENT REGARDING SEARCH & SEIZURE:  Levels of Proof required in our legal system:  Beyond Reasonable Doubt >>>>>>> ^  Clear and Convincing Evidence >>>>> ^  Preponderance of the Evidence >>>>> ^  Probable Cause >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ^  Reasonable Suspicion >>>>>>>>>>> ^  Hunch >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ^ Facts………………………………………………..Cr edibility
  19. 19. So, Reasonable Suspicion is…. More than a hunch? Yes!
  20. 20. However, you must have FACTS….  ….in order to have “Reasonable Suspicion”  What you see  What you smell  What you hear  What you’re told
  21. 21. SUPERVISOR ACTION STEPS: The way to get your facts!
  22. 22. 1. OBSERVATION…gives you the “HUNCH.” Personal observation of employee action Third person report of observation of employee action Rumor of employee action
  23. 23. ILLUSTRATIVE CRITERIA:  Physical symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol or a banned substance  Smell!  Difficulty walking  Slurred speech  Needle marks  Glazed stare
  24. 24. ILLUSTRATIVE CRITERIA:  A pattern of abnormal conduct or erratic behavior  Dramatic decline in work performance  Excessive sick leave  Information provided by reliable and credible sources which is independently corroborated
  26. 26. BUT….. YOU NEED FACTS and MUST INVESTIGATE AND CORROBORATE:  WORK RECORD  Absenteeism  Tardiness  Work related injuries  Off the job activities (i.e. arrests for DUI?)  Requests for salary advance  Wage garnishment actions
  27. 27. INVESTIGATE/CORROBORATE OBSERVED BEHAVIOR (Con’t)  Is there validity/reason for third part report (i.e. does someone have an ax to grind?)
  28. 28. 2. DOCUMENTATION  Timely-follow the (DOT) “24 hour rule”  Document facts only  Treat documents confidentially
  29. 29. 3. CONFIRMATION-you must!  Review employee’s recent work record.  Confirm suspicions with personnel or some other level of supervision.  Confirm suspicions with credible witnesses.
  30. 30. 4. CONFRONTATION  Timing depends upon suspected employee’s job.  Refrain from conclusatory accusations. (i.e. “You’re a drug addict”)
  31. 31. UNIFORMITY  Know the rules and follow them.  Uniform implementation of company policy & procedures
  32. 32. CONFIDENTIALITY  Private setting away from work area  No interruptions  Witnesses - only those who need to be present  Files are locked  Display respect at all times
  33. 33. HELPFUL TIPS FOR SUPERVISORS  Document; don’t diagnose! Focus on performance problem, not suspicions of substance abuse. Trying to get person to admit substance abuse is almost always futile (and misguided, if substance abuse is not the cause of the behavior after all).
  34. 34. HELPFUL TIPS FOR SUPERVISORS (con’t)  Avoid meaningless threats: Discussion of disciplinary action must be accompanied by a strong commitment on your part to follow through, if needed.  Stay objective and business-like: Sympathy and apologetic overtones often fuel the abuser’s knack for rationalization and denial.
  35. 35. HELPFUL TIPS FOR SUPERVISORS (con’t)  Reinforce that your actions are in accordance with your organization’s drug free workplace policy.  Stick to what you know and can document: unacceptable work behavior: accidents, mistakes, absenteeism, etc. Get a second supervisor’s confirmation when possible, and observations.
  36. 36. HELPFUL TIPS FOR SUPERVISORS (con’t)  Keep documentation in front of you to assist your memory and help you resist the abuser’s efforts to dissuade you.
  37. 37. GENERAL CHAIN-OF-COMMAND Where Safety Is A Critical Issue: “Immediacy Of Danger”  Safety-sensitive position?  Will observed conduct affect safe performance?  Is there an opportunity to intervene?  If you do not intervene will risk continue?  Can you confirm?  _____Yes ____No  _____Yes ____No  _____Yes ____No  _____Yes ____No  _____Yes ____No
  38. 38. MANAGER’S ROLE WITH EAP Informal Referral Management Referral Consultation
  39. 39. REMEMBER…..  You’re human-be honest about how you’re feeling about confronting a situation.  Process your feelings with a trusted co-worker prior to the confrontation.  Always have a management witness present with you.  Allow others to take lead if you cannot stay objective with your emotions.
  40. 40. LIFESERVICES EAP 1-800-822-4847 Call for consultation 24/7! You do not have to be alone! Remember, the job is the LAST to go-you may be saving someone’s life!
  41. 41. HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!