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How to Confront an Addicted Employee

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Here’s how constructive confrontation works: An alcohol- or drug-impaired employee will have identifiable employment issues that should tip off the supervisor that the person is a candidate for referral, says Dan Hughes, director of the employee assistance program at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

“The supervisor schedules a conference with the employee and says, ‘Joe, I’ve noticed in the past six months you’ve called in sick a number of successive Mondays. You also called in sick after your last two vacations. And when you’re here, your performance is off. This is unacceptable. You’re not meeting minimum expectations, and I need to bring this to your attention. It’s not my job to get into your business, but we have the employee assistance program and these people are trained to help you. I think you should meet with them. It’s up to you, but whether you do or don’t I’m going to write you up unless you improve your attendance and performance.’ ”

The author, a contributing editor of HR Magazine, is a lawyer and a professor of management studies at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.


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