Touchy subject when someone is suspected of alcohol or drug abuse in the workplace. How do you handle it? I’ve seen about every scenario imaginable. It is a very fragile situation when trying to manage alcoholism and chemical dependency.

Some companies have a very hard line on the subject. 1st offense comes with a written warning and a day off with no pay. 2nd offense the employee is out. What do you, would you, do?

Do you believe in second chances or even third or fourth chances? I have a lot of personal experience with this subject, and I can honestly say there is no right or wrong. It is a personal choice and belief system of each individual owner and/or HR department. You really have to look at the serious role the individual plays within a team. A pilot, surgeon or careers with lives on the line have no place for chemical dependency. Even if the individual coping with dependency works in the mail room he or she is on the payroll and needs to address the problem if it is affecting their work.

I’ve seen the real hard line mentioned previously save an individual’s life. Very cool thing to witness. I have seen the other side of the equation, the side laced with tough love.

I once had an associate¬†miss work due to the fact that he had passed out, hit his head, and ended up unconscious on his kitchen floor for over a day before someone had discovered his body.¬† It’s a humbling encounter with life or death. Do I dismiss him or help him? I chose the latter, and he went on to live a life of sobriety, and productivity. One of my better decisions in life.

Making treatment, AA, or a 12 step support system was a part of his condition of employment. Like I said, it’s a touchy situation, and something to consider when coaching a business.