Page 15

RecoveryPlus Workplace

Recovery Plus: Workplace wellbeing Easy Normal Hard Expert Cannabis: clearing the haze. Keeping workplaces drug-free is becoming more muddied by ‘medical marijuana’ legalisation: a reality for some US states and an opinionshaper in the UK. Marijuana legalisation has clashed with drug testing in the workplace. The billionaire-funded disinformation about legalisation and ‘Big Pot’ – a potent blend of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma – has hooked many working people outside the US, who can devise sensitive dilemmas for their colleagues and employers. A recent report by drug-testing firm Quest Diagnostics revealed a 47% spike in the rate of positive oral marijuana test results in US workplaces from 2013 to 2015 – and an incredible 178% rise in that rate from 2011-2015. "Yet again, we see information that expanding marijuana legalisation policies is having serious negative impacts on the public, in this case in the workplace," said Dr. Kevin Sabet, cofounder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Employers must take steps to avoid becoming a target of an employee lawsuit, whether the employee has a strong case or not. “There are four scenarios in these types of lawsuits that I see over and over again,” shared employment lawyer Todd Wulffson; read his advice. And note the near miss at this human rights tribunal. Safeguard your business legally. In the UK, there is no direct legal requirement for employing organisations to implement alcohol policies per se. But health & safety at work law requires both employers and employees to maintain a safe working environment: were an alcohol-related accident to occur, the employer, the employee concerned or both could be liable depending on circumstances. Employers are obliged to look for signs of alcohol dependent behaviour in their staff as, although an employee found drunk on duty is at risk of dismissal for gross misconduct, employment protection law means employers are required to treat dependence as a form of sickness, giving an employee the chance to overcome the problem rather than an immediate cause for discipline. This approach is supported by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, the ILO and the Employment Appeals Tribunal. An existing effective alcohol and drug policy is paramount. But don’t be complacent. For example, do those rules or guidelines change when psychoactive substances are consumed outside work, to excess or not? Proving impairment to performance is absolutely key. Heavy drinking in personal leisure time can have a long-term effect on work performance, including absenteeism, inefficiency, poor decisionmaking and damaged customer relations. Specific productivity problems include procrastination, inconsistent performance, neglect of detail, poorer quality of work, less quantity of work, more frequent mistakes, and interpersonal difficulties. Where there is clear evidence of alcohol affecting an employee’s behaviour or performance in the workplace – including recklessly coming to work having been drinking – dismissal is likely to be held to be fair at an Employment Tribunal, especially where there might be risk to others. Finally, avoid becoming an organisation which tolerates heavy drinking as a way of socialising, bonding or doing business. your library’s essential reference September 2016 15 About the author For two decades, Deirdre Boyd has been a leader in the field of recovery from addiction, based in the UK with an international reputation. She heads up DB Recovery Resources, supplying a daily news service to the international alcohol/drug addiction-recovery field. For over 20 years, she was CEO of the Addiction Recovery Foundation charity, editor of Addiction Today, author of Addiction & Recovery: self-help for friends, families and addicts. She serves on the Addictions working group of the Centre for Policy Studies and on IC&RC’s Advisory Council, and contributed to government policy. Deirdre was voted by the public to win the Directory of Social Change Influencer Of The Year Award 2012. The International Council on Alcohol & Addictions awarded her the ‘Dr Vincent Bakeman Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Services’.


RecoveryPlus Workplace
To see the actual publication please follow the link above