November 24, 2009
SPIKED MILK: CLASS ASSIGNMENT
WHAT COURSE OF ACTION SHOULD THE MANAGER FOLLOW? WHY?
Larry is a good employee. No change in his work performance has been noticed and his job performance is pretty decent. The manager already knows that Larry has drinking problem and has an unstable home life as well. Many of the workers have claimed that they have smelled alcoholic breath of Larry. Manager has also smelled alcohol on Larry's breath once. Manager has already confronted Larry and Larry denied drinking at work. It is a Construction Company, and construction work is considerably a very dangerous job and workers need to be attentive all the time at the construction site. Safety at work is employer's biggest responsibility. If an accident happens due to Larry's drinking, it can hurt him or any of his fellow co workers. In that case employer can be held directly or indirectly responsible and employee can still collect workers compensation. Court can say that employer could have avoided this. Therefore, it is in employee's best interest to start inquiring the issue to avoid any unwanted incident. Workers compensation is not the only issue here, there is also negligence law (Story2009 & Power Point).
Not only other workers but manager himself also smelled alcohol on Larry too. This gives manager an opportunity and reasons to confront the employee. However, manager needs to play it safe. He cannot jump into conclusion that Larry in fact drinks at work because he smells like it. We have to take this fact into consideration that Larry has never been caught drinking at work. But, there must be steps that managers should follow at this point. Manager can follow discipline approach like counseling. If the employer suspects alcoholism, manager must inform the employee of counseling services as well.
Alcohol testing and drug testing are used by many employers, especially following an accident or some other reasonable cause. There are many types of drug testing like urinalysis, radioimmunoassay of hair and fitness-for-duty. These tests can distinguish individuals under the influence of alcohol use or other drug. Larry can also be given fitness-for-duty test, which is usually used to detect work performance safety problems before letting him go to construction area. It is well known that Larry has drinking problem. It is also mentioned that manager knows that Larry has unstable family life. A variety of emotional health issues that may arise at work must be addressed by the employer. Many emotional/mental illnesses are considered under disability under the ADA. Beyond communicating with the employee and providing work accommodations, employer can contact HR staff, which can intervene and suggest outside sources for employee though implemented employee assistance programs (Course Book pg. 478-479).
To avoid any risks, manager can make sure that Larry and all other workers know the company policy on alcoholism and other drug usage. The goal of this phase is to heighten employee awareness of their company policies and rules. The policy should be written in detail and it should be distributed to every employee and also made sure that everyone reads it too. The way manager reminded Larry of company policy might be very affective as it was oral reminder (Story, 2009, Course Book pg. 509& Power Point).
TO WHAT EXTENT SHOULD THE MANAGER GO TO TRY TO CATCH LARRY DRINKING ON THE JOB?
Manager cannot go too far to catch Larry drinking as it could result in invasion of privacy. However, manager can adopt different and safe routes. Manager can put Larry in job rotation. If Larry does not have a limited job description, then manager can make Larry work in the office for few days in order to observe his behavior closely.
There are safe routes that manager can follow. As being a private employer, company can conduct a drug testing of current employees, under random testing of everyone at periodic interval. This test...
References: Timothy A. Dimoff,"How to Recognize Substance Abuse," substance abuse at work, Chap.10, Css Pub Co: March 2000.
Quendra B. Story, "Employee draining at work," JLC: The journal of light construction, Issue: November 2009.
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