In two particular departments, the supervisors suspect significant drug use on the part of the employees. Other supervisors are not sure if their departments have this problem. Several of the more serious plant accidents had some under-the-influence element as their cause, and you agree with him. Whether it is true or not, expensive worker's compensation settlements were incurred by the company, in one case because of an amputation on a piece of machinery.
The following criteria were outlined to use when making a difficult decision involving employee relations:
â?¢ Is there any precedent in the company that could not only serve as a guide but which must be considered to avoid reinventing the wheel? More importantly, could the firm be charged with discrimination if employees do not treat person X in this situation the same as person Y in the precedent situation?
â?¢ Is this just a onetime individual issue, or is the decision, in effect, establishing a new policy?
â?¢ What are the long-term ramifications if the company sets a new policy to address this situation?
â?¢ Which should dominate the decision-making process: the good of the long-term future, the rights of the individuals affected right now, or the cost to the company?
â?¢ Is how the company decides to handle this situation that is arising in department A going to have a bad impact on other departments?
â?¢ Will the decision made have any impact to the outside community?
â?¢ How will the decision among this certain number of employees, or this department, impact overall workplace harmony and teamwork?
â?¢ Will the decision leave the supervisor involved with possible problems regarding other employees?
â?¢ Are there any legal issues involved that may guide the decision-making process?
Formulate a strategy as to how to include this, or decide not to make this an issue in the upcoming negotiation
Employee's drug use costs employers billions of dollars in decreased productivity, increased liability exposure, and higher workers compensation insurance premiums. It is the responsibility of employers to ensure safety and well-being of workers by providing a drug free environment. For providing a basis point over which the company can act, precedence incident of the same nature can be used. While it is true that past precedents reflects some uncertainty at the outer boundaries as to when employer should employ drug abuse precedents. Actions taken by the employer has to be more based on the facts of current situation rather than forming precedence as fact. The role of precedent is to give a starting point to the employer in taking an action against drug abuse. Hence, employees might disagree to treat person X in the current situation the same as person Y in the precedent situation.
The situation cannot be regarded as a one-time individual issue but should be taken more seriously as a step towards establishing a new policy. The first step is to outline where does the company stand, and what is expected from employees, and what action would be taken if the policy is violated. If the current situation does not find its mention in the existing policy, a change in policy to add the clause is recommended or amending the policy as a whole to focus on greater number of incidents which could take place.
Ramifications of setting a new policy
Since the company had to incur heavy employee settlements due to suspected drug use on part of employees by two departments, the current policy does not cover the drug use clause or addresses it in parts. Hence, it is the general duty of the employer to amend the policy or set up a new policy which covers fatal workplace accidents. The new policy would have following ramifications ...
New contracts with its labor unions is examined.