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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Drug Taking HR Manager

I need some advice. What should you do if you see your boss take drugs(prescription pain killers that do not belong to her) and your boss is the HR Manager?

There are a couple different answers to this question. The first answer assumes this is an ongoing problem. If she's regularly popping prescription pain killers that belong to other people (who?) and you're sure it's not just an old jar that she keeps her Tylenol in (are you?), then I would document the heck out of it, and take it to her boss.

I'm assuming since you've seen her doing this, she's doing it at work. Your workplace undoubtedly has a drug free work force policy (administered by, ironically, your boss).

Once you've turned over your documentation to her boss, it's time to let it go. If you see her directly taking medicine out of a prescription bottle with somebody else's name on it, you can say, "Oh, Susan! I think you grabbed the wrong bottle this morning. That says James Smith on it." This will ensure that she'll transfer her illegal pills to a more legal looking container.

Once you've reported it to her boss, it's not your problem. Continue to document and do your best work, but if her boss chooses not to deal with it, you're pretty stuck.

The second answer is if this is a one time occurrence. How many of us have bottles of prescription pain killers in our bathrooms? I know people who have narcotics left over from surgery or broken bones or childbirth or whatever that just sit in their medicine cabinet. While it is still illegal for someone else to take it, I don't think it's a huge deal for a family member who has a killer toothache and has already called the dentist, but the dentist can't see her until 4:30 to pop one of those percosets. (Yes, illegal. I'm not advocating illegal activity. I'm just saying that I wouldn't set about to destroy someone's career and reputation over a toothache solution.)

If that's the case, I'd totally ignore it, unless she's operating heavy machinery or something. (And HR people are more likely to be shuffling papers than driving forklifts, so you're probably okay.)

If it's serious, report her to her boss. If it was a one time thing, give her a dentist recommendation because toothaches can really, really, really hurt.


Class factotum said...

How is it any of the letter writer's business at all? If there is a performance issue or if the boss is stoned at work, that's one thing, but a behavior that may or may not be illegal that is not affecting the boss's work is irrelevant.

If it is a performance issue, that's what you point out to the boss's boss, although that seems politically dicey. If the boss is stoned and about to operate a forklift, then intervene. Otherwise, I would stay out of it.

(Spoken as someone who has purchased OTC codeine in France to use on my frequent migraines. I did also have a prescription, but it wasn't always enough.)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I agree - MYOB and get back to work, busybody.

Rachel - former HR blogger said...

Chose your battles. This is one to let go.

bilalmujtabakhan said...

This is not an astonshing thing that many managers are drugs addicted,we all know.Any how we all know that drugs is not a good thing for us its vampire which sucks you inside.
I think that if its possible you can help him out in such a way that if you lunch all together or after the office hours,you can start talking to him,in such away that tell him a story about the drug addictions,or you can slow posing about the dark side of this thing,
may be you will succeed in the end

Good Luck

virtual assistant said...

Thanks for the post

Class factotum said...

many managers are drugs addicted,we all know

Bless your heart, I'm not sure how you draw that conclusion. I don't know that many managers are addicts. And again, if the person is doing her job, it's none of your business.

Anonymous said...

If you feel duty-bound to report it, then report it as a performance issue (if it is one) and leave the drug accusation out. If you're right and upper managers investigate and confirm it, it's their issue.

Anonymous said...

I think that if you see your boss possibly taking illegal drugs at the workplace (and your organization has a drug free workplace policy) it is your responsibility as an employee to report it to your HR department and let them deal with it as they see fit. The issue here is that the OP is in the HR department and the individual potentially violating organizational policy is the person responsible for enforcing that policy. I would report it to the HR manager’s boss and let them deal with it as they see fit, and drop it. There may be issues unknown to the OP that the HR manager’s boss is aware of, or will be made aware of if the boss confronts the manager that will not be revealed to the OP.

The question I have is with liability. If you witness an illegal act or something that potentially violates state or federal regulations and make this known to your superiors who are ultimately responsible for administering the organization’s policies and ensuring legal compliance, and they don’t respond or don’t deal with it, are you still liable? Or is the act of reporting it to your superiors enough to remove your liability?

mohamed farouk said...

i will do nothing let someone else take the move

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why everyone is assuming the drugs are narcotics. As a long-time arthritis/fibromyalgia/bad-disc sufferer, there are plenty of prescription painkillers that are not narcotics and therefore not illegal to share. Unless I missed something in the post? Vioxx is gone but Celebrex is still out there, along with other mighty expensive meds. If your friend can't take something because it bothers her stomach, why should the stuff go to waste? Not to mention the fact that no one likes us dumping drug leftovers into the water supply or the trash. If you aren't fortunate enough to live in an enlightened town that has drug collections (like mine), I don't see what is so bad about giving someone else your prescription. Just to be clear - I am not talking about any schedule two stuff - just the prescription NSAIDs etc.

On the other hand, it is pretty stupid to keep them in a vial with someone else's name on it, because, gosh, people might jump to conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Class Factorum - most managers I know (including me) are addicted to one drug - coffee.

Just try me if I haven't had two or more by 11am. Fortunately, caffine is legal. As is chocolate.

bilalmujtabakhan said...

Hay there
i have got some useful information about the drugs using people
In one research study, approximately 1 in 5 people between the ages of 16 and 59 said that they had taken at least one of the drugs mentioned.
2)People ages 18 to 21 were most likely to admit having taken drugs with almost half (46%) claiming to have taken them.
3) Men ratio is more then the women who are addicted to drugs. 24% of men and 16% of women had taken at least one kind of drug in their lives.

Class factotum said...

bilalmujtabakhan, taking a drug at some point in one's life is not the same as being addicted to it. I have taken vicodin many times. I am not an addict. It does not make me high and unfortunately, it does not even work as a pain reliever. I have taken valium twice. Not an addict. So your study, although interesting, does not back your assertion that most managers are addicts.

As far as that goes, though, I know several responsible professionals who smoke pot. Not at work, but at home. It is illegal. They may be addicts. But if they can function as lawyers, doctors, and teachers, what business is it of mine what they do in their off hours?

Anon, yeah, don't even try to talk to me until I've had some coffee. Two cups. Sugar, milk and cream. Yes, I have a problem.