Dagga in the workplace

on Thursday, 02 April 2015. Posted in News

Dagga. A no-no in the work place!

We are generally familiar with the problem of alcohol abuse in the workplace, but more and more often I am dealing with employees being under the influence of dagga or other mind-altering drugs. From an employer perspective there are two elements to deal with – solutions to or the prevention of the substance use and secondly disciplinary action for the breach of rules.

Apart from social responsibility with regard to assisting with rehabilitation and prevention there are financial reasons to address the substance abuse. The costs of substance abuse are high for employers. In addition to absenteeism and lower job productivity and performance, substance abuse also potentially leads to injuries and illnesses. Reducing employee substance abuse can improve productivity and reduce workplace injuries.

The first step is to have in place a Substance Abuse Policy which will outline your company stance on the matter. I would also suggest a policy on searching. These will enable you to address the matter consistently and fairly.

Your policy should outline the details on tolerance, restrictions, rehabilitation and testing (remember that an Employee needs to consent to testing and also this needs to be conducted by a suitably qualified person).

In terms of taking action against an employee who is under the influence of drugs, abuse of dagga, alcohol or other drugs in the workplace, this normally amounts to a serious breach of workplace rules with dismissal as a possible sanction.

You should be aware that an employee who suffers from an alcohol and/or drug problem might also be suffering from a health problem and should consider offering counseling, treatment or rehabilitation as an alternative before or in addition to disciplinary action.

For further advice on this matter please contact Jean Allen HR Consulting