Alcohol and drug misuse

1. Introduction

1.1 This procedure has been designed to assist Managers / Head Teachers when dealing with cases involving alcohol / drug misuse by employees.

1.2 It is recognised that alcohol / drug misuse can affect employees at any level within the organisation. This procedure is therefore applicable to all employees irrespective of their status and position within the Authority.

1.3 A set of guidance notes supplements the information contained in this procedure and the two documents should be used when dealing with cases of alcohol / drug misuse.

2. Definition of alcohol / drug misuse

2.1 Alcohol / drug misuse is defined as an illness which continually or repeatedly interferes with a person's health and/or job performance.

3. Aims of the procedure

3.1 The aims of the procedure are to:

  • Highlight the risks associated with the intake of alcohol/drugs.
  • Prevent and reduce the incidence of alcohol/drug misuse affecting work performance or leading to personal/domestic problems.
  • Offer encouragement and assistance to employees who are dependent or are suspected of becoming dependent on alcohol or drugs.
  • Refer employees for appropriate counselling or treatment where it is either known or suspected that an individual is dependent on alcohol/drugs.

4. The procedure

4.1 Methods of Referral

4.1.1 Self Referral

4.1.2 Employees can seek help on a purely voluntary basis, independently of the Council, if they believe that they have, or may have, a problem relating to alcohol/drug misuse and its effect on their health or work performance.

4.1.3 Employees wishing to seek help can refer themselves to their own GP, voluntary agencies such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Drugs Concern, the Samaritans, etc. (See Appendix 2 for further names and addresses).

4.1.4 Employees who recognise a problem and are seeking help and are taking the initiative should not be subject to disciplinary action in the first instance.

4.2. Voluntary Referral

4.2.1 Employee's are encouraged to seek help initially through the Council's Occupational Health Service. The Occupational Health Service are able to offer sensitive counselling and assessment; help employees to make an informed choice of further help through specialist agencies; and on-going support and encouragement. In cases where the employee approaches the Occupational Health Service directly no reference is made to the employer.

4.3 Management Referral

4.3.1 The Supervisor / Manager / Head Teacher must determine whether an individual is exhibiting symptoms of possible alcohol / drug misuse (as outlined in Section 2 of the Guidance Notes and Appendix 1).

4.3.2 The Supervisor / Manager / Head Teacher should arrange an interview with the employee to discuss the employee's performance and/or conduct. The employee should be advised of the reason for the interview.

4.3.3 The employee will be informed that he / she should be represented by a Trade Union representative or colleague.

4.3.4 The Supervisor / Manager / Head Teacher may take any of the following courses of action as a result of the meeting:

  • refer the employee to the Occupational Health Service;
  • determine a review period during which an individual's conduct/performance must improve if alcohol / drug misuse is not established.

4.3.5 Progress meetings will be held with the employee and his / her representative to monitor and review the situation. The timing of these meetings are to be determined by the Supervisor / Manager / Head Teacher according to the circumstances of each case.

4.3.6 The details and outcome of all meetings will be confirmed in writing to the employee and his / her representative where appropriate.