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Jan13

Suspected Drug Use

We have an employee that is scheduled for her 90 review. We have a drug policy in place that states Employees are subject to random drug testing. My question is what kinds of questions/statements can I ask/state in the employees 90 day review concerning her off work hours behavior.

We live in a very small community and the issue is that we have heard from different people concerning her off working hours behavior. This makes it very difficult especially with the field we are in.

I just want to know if I can comment to her on what was heard and how far can I go with the conversation concerning what was heard?

This question underscores a problem that many employers face, especially in small towns. Employee evaluations should be based upon the employee's objective, observable behavior or measurable performance at work. No part of the performance evaluation should be based on gossip. Generally speaking, the employee's conduct away from work should not be any part of her performance evaluation.

Part of the reason, of course, is that gossip is often inaccurate, even when several people tell a similar story. The other issue is that in many cases, a person can be an excellent employee even if their private life is not conducted exactly as your private life would be.

If you have a drug policy that allows random testing, and you believe an employee is using drugs outside of work, you should implement random testing, within state law. If the random testing shows that the employee has been using illegal drugs, or is under the influence at work, you should handle that situation appropriately. But punishing the employee based on gossip is unfair, and in many cases illegal.

It is inappropriate for you to be listening to gossip about your employees, and completely inappropriate for you to be giving an employee a lower performance evaluation or creating other negative working conditions based on such gossip. You should tell an employee that her evaluation is based on her behavior at work, and stay within those limits.

You can remind an employee of the company anti-drug policy, and that the company has a random drug test policy. However, we would not suggest that you do so as part of a 90-day evaluation.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 13th, 2011 at 3:29 am and is filed under
Human Resources Management, Performance Management.
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