During the course of your workday, there might be a number of situations that arise that are hard to deal with. One of them involves when you think a co-worker is impaired. Should you bite your tongue or blow the whistle?
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Educate yourself about the signs.
Before you jump the gun and notify your boss, make sure you’re seeing the signs of an impaired colleague. They could be having problems related to stress or other mental or physical health issues. Or there could truly be a drug and alcohol issue. Before you act, research and know the signs first.
Look to your employee handbook for guidance.
Another source of information to check before you do anything is your employee handbook. Take a look to see if it addresses the situation. Make sure you follow the protocol that is outlined in it, so that you’re in compliance with company and employment rules.
Inform your boss if the signs are there.
If you know that your colleague is under the influence in some way, it’s your duty to report them. They are not only putting themselves in danger but could cause harm to another person.
But before you do, make sure you have proof to back up your claim. This includes a documented list of incidents you’ve witnessed, when they occurred, and why they were concerning.
Keep blame and emotion out of any conversation.
This is a sensitive issue that needs to be handled with care. It’s up to you to let your boss know in a way that is factual and without emotion. Focus instead on your effort to keep the workplace safe and leave the next steps in your boss’s hands.
Don’t diagnose or assume anything.
At the end of the day, it’s not your job to diagnose your co-worker with a drug problem or make any assumptions about them. You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes and what the reality is. However, you’re concerned about safety and that’s what should be the focus.
Are you having problems at work with fellow employees and ready for a change?
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