November 19, 2013

Does Rob Ford Work for You?

By Paul Bieber

You know who he is … the Mayor of Toronto, who first said he didn’t smoke crack, and then said he did, and then he only broke the law because he was so drunk he didn’t know what he was doing.  Nice guy.  Now, he says any ordinary guy might do this when he is drunk, so it is okay to break the law, and by the way, he wants to run for re-election and then higher office.  It doesn’t matter what his politics are … I wouldn’t want my kids looking to him as a leader to be admired. 

Now, what if Rob Ford works for your company?  And what if he did this on a Tuesday night and missed work on Wednesday because he was too hungover and somehow, someway, he found himself on the front page of your local paper because of getting in an accident or being stopped for DUI or whatever?

Do you want Rob Ford driving your company trucks or going to a commercial store front install, or to Mrs. Hastings’ house to set up a shower door?  Heck no!  It doesn’t matter that his transgressions were only on a weekend if they affect your business on Monday when he is unable to safely do his job.  Let’s be honest, we all have been drunk at one time or another, or we’ve eaten too many peanut butter cups, or whatever.  But when this action affects a business or a co-worker, you have to step in.  You must.  If you look the other way, the rest of your employees will have less respect for you and the company.

There are two broad policies to consider: employment drug and alcohol testing, and reasonable cause testing on the job.  My long-time readers know I am in favor of both and strongly urge all companies to go in this direction.  Pre-employment is just that … pass the test and we can hire you; don’t pass it and apply somewhere else.  There are more details than that, but let’s cover this area in another blog.

Reasonable cause testing is triggered after an event such as:

  • Observation by one or more managers of erratic behavior;
  • A traffic accident in one of your vehicles; or
  • A workplace accident.

You can’t just start a program without consulting your union if you have one, and without serious planning and training of your supervisory staff.  The hardest part of a reasonable cause testing program is:  What happens when there is a positive test?  Immediate termination?  Suspension? A rehabilitation program?

I’ll go more into these questions next week, as my own addiction to turkey and stuffing returns.