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Pot Heads need not apply!!!!!

Timco Member Posts: 3,040
I know all about that last comment....

Just a guy running some pipes.


  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    What to do with employees who smoke marijuauna?

    I have a very good friend who is a supervisor at another heating company. The dilemma he has is that it has come to his attention that one of the installers is smoking pot and possibly on the job or in the company truck. I was told that this guy is a good installer not as technically knowledgable as he could be but very neat, fast, and able to fit anything, in any size area. What to do with this guy? Close your eyes and hope he does not get into a accident while taking a pull on his bong? The company does not have a drug testing policy. But I believe the company could still be held liable in a court of law if he gets into a wreck with the company truck and has traces of THC in his system. I can hear the guy now, " Whatever I do on my time is my business".

    What do you all think should be done with this guy?
  • SVDW
    SVDW Member Posts: 80
    Pothead my $.02

    Regardless of what he does on his own time his employers own him during the work day. He is a representative of his company & his behavior reflects on everybody who works for them, especially if they wear uniforms. The guy's skills can be replaced by someone who won't smoke dope & may even do better work. I also think the phrase "I witnessed the defendant smoking a joint shortly before the gas explosion.." pretty much means you lose in court.
  • Saggs
    Saggs Member Posts: 174

    Having been on both sides of this arguement, I know that when I started pedalling propane w/ a service company yrs ago they had "pop" pee tests for all drivers w/ cdl's. This cut back my pot use to nearly zilch. It was a wake up call to "grow up" which I needed. Pot is a tough one because what he does after hours will still show up in his urine for many days. I think someone he respects needs to talk to him and explain the situation and possible consequences of his actions. Give him fair warning and if he values his job and or employers he'll lay off during working hours. He can prop his head on the bong on his own time but if he looks stoned or smells stoned on the job I'd tell him to hit the road and don't expect a great reference. You have to think about the customers who come from all walks of life and the reputation of the company. Good luck.
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    from 8-4

    Employees must be clean and sober. NO hangovers no smoke.

    No question no excuse.

    Tell him to find another job.


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  • S Ebels
    S Ebels Member Posts: 2,322
    Ditto Scotty

    An employee or any person for that matter owes the customer nothing but their best effort. That means keeping yourself in shape to do your best, even if that includes laying off a favorite "substance" the night before.

    This also underscores the need for having policies and procedures in place before you ever hire the first person that works for you.
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    let go and let God.

    when you think about it we have work something gave us the strength to do this work.we are involved in a good work.our work is that love expressed everyday .it requires some hard decisions along the way. i would find it a hassle to say this any other way. you give your best not what is left over.

    let the guy go.what a dissapoinment for you. cheer up. he will come to a realization one day on his own.
  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    Follow the normal process

    My suggestion is to have your friend follow the normal process that that co uses when potential problems are reported. What this implies of course is that they have a process. What do they do if a call comes in for erratic driving, what do they do if a sexual harassment claim is made, how about a theft complaint, fight with a coworker or a any number of possible problems. Most processes dealing with allegations begin with gathering FACTS and then speaking with the employee, all of which is documented. Only a medical exam can determine medical symptoms, low blood sugar in a person who is diabetic can look like alot of bad things.
  • Bob W._3
    Bob W._3 Member Posts: 561

    I don't disagree that something has to be done. But your friend the supervisor should be talking to the company's attorney about what they can and cannot do under that state's laws. They might have to confront the guy and give him a chance to clean up his act. Maybe he will, and everybody wins.
  • Another view of the problem

    Many years ago I had an employee that had a drinking problem. I could smell it on his breath at the end of the day. He was a good tech and a hard worker.

    I was afraid that he would have an accident with my service truck that he took home at night. Or for that matter, an accident during the day while he was drinking.

    I talked to my lawyer and got an interesting response. He told me that if I know about the problem and don’t fire him now, that I can’t fire him, (or anyone else who drinks on the job) in the future.

    If I knew about his drinking and did not let him go I would be setting a precedent that I allow drinking on the job. It is “not my policy” to fire someone who drinks, because I did not fire him.

    If I let him continue now, and maybe fire him or someone else in the future for doing the same thing that I KNEW he was doing NOW, I would be discriminating against him or another employee, because I was not treating all who drink on the job the exact same way. (BTW, there were no race issues here, just the drinking).

    So, the bottom line is this, if you know about the problem now, and don’t do something about it NOW, you may not be able to in the future.

    Follow up: I fired him that very day. He was called into the office, and I took his keys from him instantly. One of the other men gave him a ride home. I never heard another word about it from anyone. I was sorry to loose him, but it had to be done for the sake of my other employees and my business.

  • if it's just "possibly", I would talk to the person in question. "Your work is good, but some things have come up, we don't care what you do at home but at work this is what we expect and this is what will happen if we find out that this sort of behaviour is happening on company time or on company property".

    then keep an eye out.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    The only way to protect your company

    and yourself, is to fire him now. Since you already know he is getting high in the company truck, you have no choice. Period.
  • Tony Conner_2
    Tony Conner_2 Member Posts: 443

    ... it's "possibly on the job or in the company truck", I'd talk to him first. There doesn't seem to be any real proof, just suspicions. Lay out the company position - anybody found in the act or under the influence will be terminated on the spot. I'll bet if it is happening, that will stop it. Make sure to write it down, and hang on to the file. It probably wouldn't hurt to have a short meeting with the whole crew, and make sure that everybody gets it explained to them, in the same words. I'd make a record of that, as well - who was there, exactly what they were told, and post it in the shop.
  • Supply House Rick
    Supply House Rick Member Posts: 1,404
    It's Not...

    ...The employee's you fire that give you problems, It's the ones you don't.
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    And another thing

    I would .... huh ... wait .... What where we talking about again.

    Huh ... Dude.


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  • Bob Harper
    Bob Harper Member Posts: 1,028
    doobie brothers

    Great input here. I appreciate Ed sharing the "snooze you lose" aspect. The bottom line is that in this day & time, you must have a WRITTEN employment manual that has been reviewed by your attorney annually. You must hold regular meetings, which you document, to cover everything from OSHA compliance to employment rules, to company SOP such as how we run gas lines or whatever. State laws can vary considerably. Where one State allows you to fire them on the spot, another may have a 3 strike rule. In the case with substance abuse, you may be required to pay for them to attend rehab. You also have to watch what you say about referral inquiries. This is a hotbed of litigation so meet with your attorney on it annually. Its cheap insurance in the long run. BTW, they sell insurance for employee practices. If you have an employee with problems, document, document, document.

    The other side of this is, if there is an Oops! and you knew this person had a problem yet failed to act, you might be liable for endangering the public.
  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162
    If the employeer

    knows of a situation where the employee, or his actions, place customers at risk or break laws, the employeer can be given the same jail term! Gives a new def to Hi Roomie! At least that's what a Judge we worked for told me back when I discovered we had a guy working for us who had no drivers license. IN PA, the state ID card looks just like a license & that was before we started copying their drivers license to check their MVR. In that case, I had to fire him on the spot.

    This is quite a different situation, IMHO. Employees are like having an extended family. How would you treat a family member in this situation? If he's a valued employee (family member) and it sounds like he is, I'd be inclined to council him about what I suspected and try to help him get out of the cycle. Random drug testing would be something I'd also give serious thought to implementing in order to CYA. I wouldn't be so quick to just fire him.

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  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    As an EMPLOYEE,

    I'm with Scott on this one. 8-4 is OUR time. What they do THEN, is show up clean and sober,do the work that they are assigned and present themselves as a representitive of "The Company".

    A "one chance rule" is appropriate, but anything more than that is an automatic goodbye. I've spoken with many an apprentice on MY personal views. Most get the point immediately, some take the "one chance" wrongly. I've told them that if I find that they are puffing or anything else when working with me...They WALK from wherever they are. (Scott will back me up on this too!)

    Darin, I feel the same way you do about use of anything during work time, but I can't tell anyone what to do on their own time, unless it directly affects their work habits and/or something that will effect the business.

    We literally, are "playing with fire", be it boiler installs or bathroom building. One screw-up can cost everyone in the company their job and source of income. If you see something, SAY SOMETHING. What they do on their own time is their business.(Sucks when you get a call from jail to please come bail me out...doesn't it Mr. Milne?) Stuff occurs. (inside joke!!!!) Chris
  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162
    No bail

    been down that road. He got fired the next day. Bad enough that it was a DUI, which results in firing due to insurance issues, but he woke up a good customer after wrecking and just prior to the police nabbing him. The drunken 4-AM phone call from jail was an unpleasant intrusion into my sleep too. There is a line that once crossed results in termination.

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  • t. tekushan
    t. tekushan Member Posts: 141

    One of the most difficult situations I encountered was having to fire a pothead employee. Worse yet I know the family well. I tried the personal counselling approach to no avail. I was resented for it. The typical reasoning: "What I do on MY time...." Since they are under the influence they have no self awareness of the insideous impact it has all day long.

    But since I didn't have a written drug testing policy or performance review I was liable for increased unemployment premiums. Unemployment sided with the employee because there wasn't a paper trail. I was too trusting. Furthermore, if I wanted to fight the unemployment claim, I would have had to drag out the dirty laundry for everyone including his family to see. I was a mean awful person in everyone's eyes for awhile, but time revealed the truth. I would never do it this way again.

    Do the drug test. Tell'im your lawyer suggested doing this for everyone for some sort of liability purposes. Take one yourself so you don't alienate everyone. Obviously this doen't work if you too are a pothead! Blame the lawyer. They don't mind. They're used to it.
  • JB_8
    JB_8 Member Posts: 85
    the pot

    Let him be the victum of his behavior. Don't be his victum. Don't give him any free shots at you or your Co. Its not him that's the problem its HIS behavior.
  • Dave DeFord_2
    Dave DeFord_2 Member Posts: 29
    Had to do it once...

    I hired a friend of a friend - he came to work smelling like alcohol every day. Not sure if he was drinking before work but couldn't be sure he wasn't either. Had to let him go. He came back a few months later and apologized for what he had done and asked if he there was any work. He told me he had "cleaned up his act". I didn't have any work for him, but I like to think that maybe I helped him see the light. In your friends case I would ask the employee to immediately take a drug test (they cost about $25-50 last I knew). The results will lead your friend to the right answer.
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    A Paper Trail is Important

    I'd have a lawyer put together a written policy for the company that every new or extant employee has to sign. Think hard about what you want your policies to be, then stick them. Document issues, mentoring, etc. with employees so that you have a paper trail to point to if a fired employee contests or tries to claim unemployment benefits.

    Have a lawyer explain to you what is and is not legal in your jurisdiction, as you don't want to find yourself at the wrong end of a lawsuit either.
  • Darin Cook_3
    Darin Cook_3 Member Posts: 389
    Thanks for all the great responses!

    I had told my friend that no matter how fast this guy can rip out a piece of cast iron and put in a new one, will be of little consolation when the company is pulled into a major lawsuit or God forbid if someone is hurt or killed. I doubt the " bong head " will change his ways. Thanks again for all the responses.

  • Kevin O. Pulver
    Kevin O. Pulver Member Posts: 380
    It's tough

    Tell him that he is stupid to trade hundreds and thousands of dollars a year for nothing but a cloud of smoke that destroys his health. Even cigarette smokers are guilty of pretty poor investment strategy. Over 30 years imagine what they'll spend with nothing to show but a stinking house and a nasty cough. I've never smoked dope, but I used to drink plenty. I agree that some potheads can do excellent work. It's also different than booze due to the fact it stays in your system so long. I've heard it argued though that the drunk is a worse driver than the one who is high. It's sad that in our society, alcohol is a "socially acceptable" drug, even though it has possibly ruined more marriages and families than all other drugs combined. Alcohol use is considered acceptable and even manly or "cool" as long as you can "handle it". Even then, getting drunk is often considered OK as long as you don't do it too often and as long as you don't let it interfere with your job. Teetotalers are considered extreme and unusual.
    Most potheads I know are so hooked on the stuff that they would rather have it than their job, but it would be nice if you could confront him and tell him you want to help him get clean. He only needs 2 steps to be free. Repent and believe the Gospel. Kevin
  • t. tekushan
    t. tekushan Member Posts: 141

    in my case very quickly became an ex-pothead and turned everything around. He is now doing very well for himself in a different field. I couldn't predict what would happen at the time but this story had a happy ending after all.
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    Reffer madness!

    I wonder where your friend got his information from? Alot of posters raised the legal flag and for good reason. If you accuse him and fire him without proof you will have a lawsuit then. Illegal drug use is rampent in the trades and unless your company has a policy in place (drug testing) you can only police them youself and run the risk of improper termination unless you have proof. Many of the large jobs we go on may have 200+ tradesmen on them and I'd estimate probably 35% or even more have drug or bad alcohol problems. The drinking that goes on during lunch would curl your toes (among other things). I'm not condoning any of this activity in any way I'm just stating that by getting rid of 35%+ of your manpower is sure to make finishing these jobs tough, especially with a shortage of skilled labor. Tell your friend to tell smokey bear that the pee test will be next week and that he has on good authority that if he refuses the test he's done, or you may hafta give the guy the option of getting clean. I say this all because I had a welder working for me who I belive to of been the best welder in the country (and a good friend). This guy was the welding instructor for the United Association and won the welding contest at the annual instructors confrence at Purdue University every year he taught and he taught for 19 years! If the guy is worth it, it may be worth while to help him, if he's not, dough em'

    Robert O'Connor/NJ
  • tommyoil_2
    tommyoil_2 Member Posts: 7
    Good help is hard to find

    That said, why doesnt the company just implement a drug policy like every other company does these days. One announced test a year and a couple of pop quizzes a year to see if they pass. I have been subject to these standards for years. And bear this in mind gentlemen, there are ways around those tests unless you pull hair samples. Just google and see or ask ANYONE on probation. Just because they pass the wizz test doesnt mean they're clean.Choice given, I'd rather work with a weed burner than a rampant alchoholic or a guy who chain smokes any day. I'm with Scott and Chris here. 8 to 4 and see you tomorrow. Dont come in lit or stinking of booze and dont drink or burn on company time. Now...... YEEE HAAAA ITS THE WEEKEND !!!!! Light up and pass me a Bud !!! Oops, almost forgot..... I gotta work this weekend.
  • Leo
    Leo Member Posts: 770

    I have read all the responses and they make sense. As an employee who doesn't use substances I will add this. What a guy does at home is his business. When it is done at work and the boss turns his head it sends a message to the others. SO WHAT if he is good at what he does. Is the morale of the rest of the company worth his being there? I worked for a company like that, he is now in jail and rumor has it he will be back. Out of eight guys four have left in the past year for various reasons but there was an underlying factor. To the poster who said 35% of the work force is on something, how many big buildings have a large punch list or end up being finished under the bond?

  • joel_19
    joel_19 Member Posts: 931

    he finds a new job , done , end of story .
  • Mark Anderson_3
    Mark Anderson_3 Member Posts: 12

    You should be glad it's just pot....
    alot of kids are on prozac these days...
  • Dave Ewald
    Dave Ewald Member Posts: 36
    For Legal Advice, Pay a Lawyer

    I'm not a lawyer, and I hate to spend money on one (come to think of it, I've grown quite tight and hate to spend money in general). However, laws differ depending on your town, state and country, and laws change over time. For an employment issue, you want to talk to a lawyer who specializes in labor law. I just want to point out that any explanation of the law you see here should be regarded as food for thought, and not taken as gospel.
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