From finding cocaine in toilets to photos of employees smoking cannabis, employers are grappling with substance abuse in the workplace.
A survey of 1,000 respondents by employment law specialists, Crossland Employment Solicitors, found that over a third (35%) of employees know or suspect that their colleagues have a drug problem or take illegal substances either during or outside work.
Over 60% complained that mood swings, missed deadlines and calling-in sick are just some of the ways it’s affecting team performance.
The study also found that 20% of employees confirmed that they take, inject, or smoked illegal substances during the weekend and holidays while 12.5% said they take illegal substances every week.
Beverley Sunderland, managing director of Crossland Employment Solicitors, said: “We were surprised by the number of people who know or suspect their colleagues have a drug problem and the multitude of ways they have had to cover for their colleagues’ performance.
“There has been a noticeable shift in recent years in how the majority of employers handle substance abuse, from previously treating it as a disciplinary issue towards a more supportive approach where it is treated like an illness. However, all organisations should have their own detailed policy in place and clearly communicate it to employees. Depending on the type of job, employers also have legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act, The Transport and Works Act and The Misuse of Drugs Act.
“In my experience, substance abuse in the workplace cuts across all industry sectors, ages and jobs – from the highest paid professions to employees on minimum wages. But regardless of the job, any employer should point out the dangers to anyone they know is affected and provide them with proper encouragement and support to seek help.”