Reasonable Suspicion Supervisor Training

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Last updated on March 18th, 2021 at 10:43 am

Drug Test Consulting Network brings you DOT Compliant and Drug-Free Workplace Supervisor and Employee training.  Refresher and FAA Recurrent supervisor training is also available. Click Here for Online Supervisor Training Programs.  DOT regulations require supervisor training for supervisors making reasonable suspicion determinations for drug testing and alcohol testing. 

Supervisory Training – Identification and Data Documentation of Behaviors

In continuing with the Supervisor training articles.  This will identify areas of behaviors that a trained supervisor should be aware of.  It will also identify the primary areas where the documentation should be done to protect not on the supervisor but the company from an unwarranted lawsuit. 

There are some on the job behaviors that need to be identified in several areas of the workonplace.  Most of these behaviors can be categorized into three dominant areas. 

The first and primary category is work performance.  Why this category is primary is that many on-the-job behaviors and work habits of employees that can directly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of a task accomplished.

Some of the key things to look for in this area are:

  1. Work productivity;
  2. Lack of good judgement;
  3. Efficiency coupled with concentration on doing the task correctly;
  4. Absenteeism;
  5. Adherence to company policy;
  6. Taking risks when not needed or allowed; and
  7. Cooperation. 

Another area of concern is social interactions, especially with employee peers.  This can have an impact on team performance and can affect how they behave in the workplace.  The type and quality of relationships with fellow workers is important and should be observed.  

Again some of the things to look for are:

  1. Sociability;
  2. Observable changes in the identification of friends or associates;
  3. Changes in how other people or worker react to that person being in their presence;
  4. Mood changes or anger more frequently and that includes manipulation of others;
  5. Changes in speech patterns or behavior; and
  6. Non-justified complaints 

The third area of concern that a supervisor is the personal health of an individual.  This does not mean that the supervisor is a diagnostician but can make some outward observations of the individual.  This can be physical or emotional states that can affect work behavior.  Some of these can include:

  1. Signs of nervousness or constantly being emotionally upset;
  2. Is there a pattern in the use of alcohol and or prescription drug(s);
  3. The energy level of the individual; and
  4. Changes in the general appearance. 

Supervisors need to document any and all observation.  That documentation should include the date, time and location of the observation.  All of this should be put on paper right away and not trusted to memory.  This information is of assistance for further evaluation of the employee by a trained counselor.  Supervisors are cautioned not to make evaluations but to document the information objectively.  When the data has been documented, then assistance should be sought from the Employee Assistance Program. 

There are some things that a supervisor should not do.  Those points are: 

1.   The supervisor should not play the role of “amateur diagnostician.” The supervisor is not necessarily qualified to judge whether an employee is an “alcoholic.” The supervisor must stick to job performance. 

2.   The supervisor should not discuss whether or not any employees has a “drinking problem” or attempt to counsel them in this regard. 

3.   The supervisor should not recommend termination of an employee of a previously satisfactory employee without first offering help through the Employee Assistance Program if it’s not possible the poor performance is the result of emotionally based personal behavior problems. 

4.   The supervisor must not engage in any “cover-up” activities regarding any “problem employee.” 

It is recognized that not all of the above items may be pertinent and certainly is not inclusive as there may be other factors in place.  Supervisors may have their own processes and procedures in place for identifying and dealing with “troubled” employees that may have a substance abuse problem or the misuse of alcohol along with other issues than can impact workplace performance. 

Visit MyDrugTestTraining for all remote computer based training programs available.

Visit our page for all Supervisor Trainings available via live webinar or computer based. Call Joe Reilly at 321-622-2020 for live training information.

FMCSA Reasonable Suspicion Drug & Alcohol Testing

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