Some employers do not have an active working policy or procedures in place to help those with addictions. In today’s economy, most employees are under tremendous pressure to maintain employment and support their family while being burden with financial stress. In the case, there are policies and procedures in place, however; it appears throughout the area some places have not exercised them. Maintaining and sustaining a highly competitive business in the global marketplace is a challenging venture for the Branch’s management because of the alcohol issue. Ensuring that the workforce drug free, highly achieving, motivated and supplied with tools necessary to be successful should be at the forefront of the management.
The ethical case study
Because of work place drinking, the engineering firm Branch, Inc. has lost ground to the competitors. The main cause of the loss is substance abuse among the employees. It has been established that many employees work under the influence of alcohol and other illegal drugs.
John, a new quality control officer, had detected alcohol on the breath of Andy, most mornings before work. This presents ethical issues.
The ethical dilemma
John has an ethical dilemma. His options include, one, talking to Andy regarding the drinking, ignoring And, just being quiet and minding his own business, and reporting to his superiors.
The case presents several issues among the stakeholders. The first stakeholder is the fellow employees. In the case, John bears all the challenges of the colleagues drinking. John , having known Andy well, believes that Andy will face more problems due to the additional job pressures. The drinking challenge is expected to worsen and the relationship between Andy and the staff mates would strain. The other stakeholder is the owners of the company. They have lost clients because of the behaviors of the staff. The customers, being the major stakeholders have borne the brunt of the Andy’s habit through poor services and possibility of accidents in the company. The management of Branch Inc. is another affected stakeholder. Branch’ management must realize that identifying workforce members with alcohol and drug issues, and offering treatment for those employees fosters a compassionate, efficient and inclusive environment. These contribute to the competitive advantage and overall profitability of the company. The family of Andy will see an increased burden in caring for the ex-employees if he is sacked due substance abuse problem. The burden on the family would include unemployment payments, employment services, and medical services.
Relevant theories and codes
The relevant theory in this case is the Social Identity Theory. Social Identity Theory focuses on social psychology, and explains some behavior of employees such as Andy. The theory analyses the principles of in-group favoritism and out-group discrimination. These mechanisms explain why identity crisis and social marginalization occur. Because of John’s stronger identification with group ethical and responsible employees, there is a greater chance that he will marginalize Andy. Based on the theory, Andy would deny any wrong doing. Denial by addicts makes it harder to apply treatment plans since the addicts will not go to the rehabilitation centers on their own. This is mainly because they are afraid of being condemned and stigmatized on admission of their conditions. Alcohol and drug abuse can cause accidents and even serious health issues like liver and lung cancers respectively. Andy also seems to drink due to identity crisis issues. It also relates to ethical policies that define codes of conduct in work place. Ethical codes demand that employees behave decently and modestly.
Employees at the company were also asked their views on the accuracy and fairness of drug testing at their workplace in order to establish their trust in the tests. drug testing being a fair way to identify drug abusers, the results were positive as 80% of the respondents agreed to it being fair, only 20% responded otherwise. On the accuracy of drug tests, 67.5% agreed to it while the remainder opposed. These results were congruent to those indicating reliability of the test with majority (57.5%) of the respondents considering it reliable and 42.5% questioning its reliability.
Andy will be examined to determine if substance abuse exists. If so, the company will recommend a series of specific options that can be used to assist the customers and staff deal with the problems. Andy should go for addiction treatment. The purpose of the treatment study is to help identify symptoms and causes of the drug and/or alcohol abuse and recommend where to go for confidential help. Once a problem is detected and Andy must seeks treatment, the organization, the customers and the employee will all benefit from the outcome. Effective treatment must address the many varied needs of an individual and not just treat the behavior but the cause(s) as well. The individual’s associated legal, medical, psychological, social, and vocational needs must also be addressed in any effective treatment. Other factors that must be considered include the individual’s age, culture, ethnicity, and gender. The length of time an individual will spend in treatment depends on degree of the abuse, the type of abuse, and the length the time the abuse may have been possibly going on. It is safe to say recovery from alcohol and drug abuse is indeed a long-term process and may be repeated several times on the individual. The varied needs of an addicted individual and how these needs are considered and applied in the treatment will dictate the treatment’s failure or success. If the best intervention mechanisms are put in place, the chances of Andy’s recovery would be very high. However, he will need a lot of support in from the team members rather than blames. The colleagues need to realize that his condition requires a process of recovery and social support.
The cause and effect of addiction in the engineering workplace, and worldwide, continues to rise. The Andy case outlines what causes addiction within the engineering working community. Any substance abuse in the workplace can seriously injure an employee, cause accidents in engineering setting, it can impair judgment, or in the absolute worst case, it can cause loss of life. Establishing a workplace substance abuse program can drastically reduce the cost to business and industry from decreased productivity and increased health claims. But there are many approaches to establishing an effective program. There is no absolute "model" substance abuse program that is right for all companies. The program should be tailored to the needs and circumstances of the individual company
Tajfel, Henri . Human groups and social categories. Cambridge: Cambridge
TAMU. Drinking In The Workplace . Web. 4 Dec. 2014.