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How Nonprofit Organizations Can Manage Addiction in the Workplace

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What is Addiction? 

It is essential to keep in mind that addiction is not a choice and is a disease that affects the brain. Addiction, in general, can be seen as an inability to control substance use despite harmful consequences and attempts to quit or cut back. 

Addiction is a complex issue with many contributing factors, including genetic predisposition and environmental factors such as socioeconomic status or stress levels. 

Guidelines for Preventing Substance Abuse at Work 

The following guidelines are for the prevention of substance abuse at work. 

  • Create a drug-free workplace policy and communicate it to all employees. 
  • Provide education on alcohol abuse and drug use and the ability of the employee to share what they are experiencing with human resources. 
  • Offer referral and assistance in accessing drug rehab programs for employees with substance abuse problems. 
  • Consider launching an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or other resources to assist employees with substance abuse problems.

What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? 

EAPs are resources available to employees who may be struggling with a mental health issue. EAPs provide personalized, confidential assistance in the form of counseling, referrals, and other supportive services. In addition to helping employees, some employers see EAPs as a way to reduce costs associated with absenteeism and presenteeism (loss of productivity).

Supporting Employees Facing Addiction 

Supporting employees with addiction is important because it can help them maintain their position at work, and it can also help them stay sober and continue working. 

The company is responsible for ensuring that the employee does not endanger themselves or others around them while performing their job. However, addiction can complicate this relationship, and if the employee cannot remain sober while working, the company may terminate the employee. 

California Requirements for Employers 

In California, employers with more than 25 employees must abide by Labor Code Section 1025-1028, which requires providing unpaid time off to any employee who voluntarily enters and participates in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. The only limitation is if it imposes a significant burden on the employer. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides a helpful guide to managing employees with substance abuse issues. 

The specific statute reads: 

“Every private employer regularly employing 25 or more employees shall reasonably accommodate any employee who wishes to voluntarily enter and participate in an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program, provided that this reasonable accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the employer. 

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit an employer from refusing to hire, or discharging an employee who, because of the employee’s current use of alcohol or drugs, is unable to perform his or her duties, or cannot perform the duties in a manner which would not endanger his or her health or safety or the health or safety of others.”

How Addiction Can Affect the Workplace 

Drug and alcohol abuse can lead to increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, and increased workplace accidents, leading to other serious health issues. 

Employers should help their employees struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, and employers should have policies that permit employees to seek treatment without fear of being fired or penalized. Employers can also help by providing education about drug and alcohol abuse dangers to an employee’s physical health, mental health, and relationships with family members and friends.

Conclusion 

Addiction is a significant problem in the workplace, causing absenteeism, low productivity, and high turnover rates. Addiction counselors will help your company create an environment conducive to recovery and provide resources for employees with addiction problems. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Agency also has a helpful drug-free workplace toolkit

The best way to help your employees is to plan and be ready to walk through hard times. It’s a common misunderstanding that addicts can’t contribute to a company. The reality is that addicts are often the most well-equipped and capable team members when moving in the right direction. 

To learn more about addiction issues and find free educational resources, visit Addiction Guide


Addiction Guide Bio 

Addiction Guide is your trusted educational guide to addiction and recovery, founded by recovering addicts and board-certified addiction specialists. Whether you are struggling with addiction yourself or concerned about a loved one’s substance abuse, our mission is to lead you to a healthier, happier life. 

Chris Carberg 

Founder & Recovering Addict 

Chris Carberg is the Founder of Addiction Guide. Chris battled a severe addiction to prescription drugs (opioids and sedatives) and alcohol, getting clean and sober in 2005. He has dedicated his life to helping addicts like himself.

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. 

Chief Medical Officer | Co-Founder 

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Addiction Guide. Dr. Hoffman is board certified by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM) and has successfully treated hundreds of addiction patients in his practice. 

Authors

  • Founder & Recovering Addict | Addiction GuideChris Carberg is the Founder of Addiction Guide. Chris battled a severe addiction to prescription drugs (opioids and sedatives) and alcohol, getting clean and sober in 2005. He has dedicated his life to helping addicts like himself.

  • Chief Medical Officer | Co-Founder Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Addiction Guide. Dr. Hoffman is board certified by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM) and has successfully treated hundreds of addiction patients in his practice.

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