Thursday, April 3, 2014

Making a reasonable suspicion determination

Making a reasonable suspicion determination is never fun.  Make sure to document the date and time as well as the observed behavior or cause for the reasonable suspicion test.  Using a standardized form can ensure that all the correct steps are followed.  Approaching an employee who may be under the influence needs to be done in a way that shows concern for the employee. 

                 First and foremost do not show anger, and do not accuse the employee.  A positive drug or alcohol test can be a career ending event for a driver, and if you show anger towards the employee it could escalate the situation.  Let the employee know what you have observed (slurred speech, odor, motor skill problems) and ask if there could be another explanation for what you observed.  Tell the employee that they are going to be sent for a drug and/or alcohol test just to rule substances out as a possible cause. 
                Never have the employee drive themselves to the testing location, because if they cause an accident on the way the company could be liable for damages.  If you made the reasonable suspicion determination try to have someone else drive them to the testing site.  The employee will be less likely to get violent if they are not alone with the person who is having them sent for the test.  Remember that this you only have a suspicion that the employee is under the influence. 

                Sometimes suspicions can be wrong, so it is important that you are polite and respectful towards employees who are sent for reasonable suspicions. Being kind and professional saves face and avoids an awkward work relationship if the employee does not test positive.  Finally make sure that only supervisors that have taken a supervisor training course are making reasonable suspicion determinations.  Safety as aService offers an online training course for supervisors. 

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