How should I handle an employee who reported to work obviously under the influence of drugs or alcohol? What can/can't I say?
Prior to taking any administrative action against your employee, SLG strongly recommends you consult with legal counsel as each case will be different and require separate analysis. The first thing to do in this situation is to relieve the employee from his duties as the employer has a duty to provide a safe working environment for all employees and the general public. As an employer, you are not required to tolerate an employee attempting to function in such a condition. Also, your "zero tolerance" drug and alcohol policy should prohibit employees from reporting to work under the influence of controlled substances (e.g., alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, etc.) as well as prescription drugs, which are also often abused. You do not need to say anything specific at first, other than to tell the employee that he appears to be unable to perform his job functions and is being relieved of duty pending further investigation into his condition. Be sure to look for objective indications that the employee is under the influence as the employer will need to be able to articulate a reasonable suspicion that the employee is under the influence should a drug test be necessary.