Training Programs

DOT Reasonable Suspicion Supervisor Training

DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training for Supervisors - Available Online

This course provides the necessary tools and guidance for reasonable suspicion testing for FMCSA DOT supervisors. It is a computer-based, online course.

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Supervisors can play a central role in an effective Drug-Free Workplace Program. More than anyone else in the organization, they are in a position to recognize changes in an employee’s job performance. The supervisor role is very important and can require specialized training for reasonable suspicion drug testing.

Joe Reilly & Associates, Inc is one of the top providers of DOT & FMCSA Reasonable Suspicion Training for Supervisors in the country. Our online courses were created for industry professionals who need additional training or information, on drug testing policies and procedures, that can be conveniently accessed at any time.

It can be scary and tough to think about addressing alcohol and other drug use among the people you work with, especially those that you supervise. But you don’t need to be scared, and it doesn't have to be tough. Addressing alcohol and other drug abuse in the workplace is first and foremost a conduct and performance issue—an employee who uses or abuses alcohol or other drugs on the job may at some point be an employee whose performance goes downhill. You will see it—and this guide tells you how to deal with what you see.

Supervisor Responsibilities within the Drug-Free Workplace

As a supervisor, you have three main responsibilities within a drug-free workplace

  1. Know Your Organization’s Policy
    Review your organizations' written drug-free workplace policy. If you don’t have a copy, ask your employer for one. Become familiar with what the policy permits and prohibits and the penalties for violating the policy.
  1. Be Prepared to Explain the Policy to Employees
    As a supervisor, you may be asked to explain the drug-free workplace policy to other employees. Be prepared to answer questions. Most of your employees will welcome a drug-free workplace program, but they will all have questions in the beginning.
  1. Know Your Role
    As a supervisor, you are in a unique position to play a major part in a successful drug-free workplace program. You will need to know how to identify and address employee job performance problems. Always keep in mind that while some problems may be related to alcohol and other drugs, others are not.

Keep in mind, your role is to observe and help improve employee job performance, to document work problems and successes, and to effectively implement your organization’s policies and programs. You are not expected to diagnose alcohol or other drug abuse or to provide treatment or counseling services to employees with job performance problems. Rather, your role is to conduct evaluations of job performance problems.

How to Identify and Handle Potential Drug and Alcohol Abuse by an Employee

Supervisors can be a part of a successful drug-free workplace program.  Seven actions to help identify reasonable suspicion and handle employee job performance are critical:

  1. Be Attentive
    The sooner a problem is identified, the sooner it can be corrected, especially when dealing with alcohol and drug abuse. It is important to remain alert to any and all job performance problems such as rising accident rates, increased absenteeism or tardiness, decreased productivity and deteriorating coworker relationships.

    Although these problems can arise for many reasons, including a variety of personal problems, they may also be signs of alcohol or other drug abuse. Don’t make assumptions about the reason for a problem: your job is to be aware of problems on the job -- and to make sure that tasks are completed, deadlines are met, and things are running as smoothly as possible. Staying aware of what is happening in your work environment is the first step to doing an excellent job.
  1. Observe
    Always be aware of what is going on.  Suppose you see changes in an employee’s work patterns or performance, your first step is to watch more closely. For example, you know an employee is making a habit of arriving late, calling in sick a lot, or having mood swings. Has there also been a drop in productivity or an increase in accidents? Remember, it is not your job to figure out the cause of the problem. Your job is to observe employee behavior and determine the effects of those behaviors on job performance.

    Changes in behavior may be related to alcohol or other drug abuse; they also may be the result of something else, such as a medical problem like diabetes or high blood pressure. Slurred speech or dizzy spells can be a sign of someone who is high, in need of insulin, or has had a stroke. It is important to call for help if you believe a situation may result in harm to yourself or others. Keep emergency numbers on hand, such as building security and your medical department or EAP.
  1. Document
    Job performance problems and other work-related conduct need to be documented. This means a written record should be kept that explains what you see. It should include the names of persons involved, the time, the date, what occurred, names of witnesses, and what actions were taken. Documentation should focus on job performance and should not include your opinions. A form to document signs and symptoms of potential drug abuse or alcohol abuse is provided as a part of this guide.
  1. Address Job Performance Problems
    Once you have documented the job performance problem, you should meet with the employee to discuss what you have seen. Make an appointment at a time and place when you think you will be relaxed and able to discuss the problem without distractions. When job performance problems occur, it is especially important to treat the employee with respect. Your job is to address the performance problem and encourage improvement, not to judge the employee. Be relaxed and maintain a nonjudgmental attitude; this will help keep the lines of communication open, solve the problem, and maintain good management-employee relations.
  1. Be Consistent
    Regardless of your personal relationship with an employee, it is important to treat each person the same when addressing job performance and/or conduct problems. This is not always easy to do. By following your organization’s procedures, you avoid playing favorites. This protects you from being accused of discrimination and can help your relationship with the people you supervise.
  1. Maintain Confidentiality
    All discussions of an employee’s job problems should be held in private. No one else should be able to hear the conversation. If employees choose to tell coworkers about their private concerns (e.g., results of a drug test), that is their decision. However, when an employee tells you something in confidence, you are obligated to keep it between the two of you.

    Be "up front" with the employee at the beginning of a meeting. Respecting employee confidentiality is critical to developing a trusting relationship with the people you supervise.
  1. Follow-up
    Taking follow-up action is a key part of your role in your organization’s drug-free workplace program. Follow-up means that you continue to observe and document the employee’s job performance and conduct. Follow-up ensures that the employee keeps to the agreement and that improvements are made. Before your follow-up meeting(s) with the employee, review the employee’s progress and decide what steps to take from there.

    If the employee’s job performance and/or conduct has improved, no further disciplinary action needs to be taken. However, you should continue to monitor his or her progress until you are sure the performance problem is resolved completely.  You may not know if an employee is in treatment for an alcohol or other drug problem. However, if an employee tells you that he or she is seeking help, support the recovery process but do not "enable." The current use of illegal drugs or abuse of alcohol at work is a company policy violation.

At Joe Reilly & Associates Inc, we are committed to providing complete and thorough DOT supervisor training for reasonable suspicion. Our online courses make attending trainings easy and convenient. To learn more about this course, or other courses we provide, contact Joe Reilly at (321) 622-2020 or email joe@joereilly.com.