Scott Strawbridge Inc.
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
About six years ago, we hired a talented woodworker who would drink at lunch. We warned him and explained it was his first and only warning. A few days later, he cut his hand on a jobsite. In our shop, that means a mandatory drug and alcohol test. He never picked up the required paperwork and dodged me until the afternoon. It was 4 p.m. by the time we got him to the clinic, and he still flunked the sobriety test. That meant immediate termination.
We have a drug/alcohol policy because it has a direct impact on our workers' comp costs. Employees sign an agreement that says we have the right to conduct random testing, and it's mandated after any injury. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser and have been sober for 22 years. I firmly believe when people have a problem like that, firing them is the best thing you can do for them.
We had an employee who was an alcoholic. He missed days of work and had mood swings and a bad attitude. I've had alcoholism in my family, so I don't want to be cold or unfeeling. However, we are a small company and don't have the resources for an outreach program. We were very patient with him at first. I'm willing to give a person every possible chance to get help.
But eventually we had to fire him. We have a procedure and policies manual we give employees. It says if you use alcohol or drugs on the job, that is grounds for termination.
Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and have been sober for 14 years. With my background, I don't have time or room for those problems at my company. Each new employee signs the handbook and a separate drug-testing sheet. We test all new employees. Also, if anyone is injured on the jobsite, we have a mandatory test. One strike and you're history.
One employee started missing days of work. His coworkers warned him, "Kevin will fire you if you keep this up." And I did. My crews like being in a drug-free environment because they depend on coworkers to hold up their end of the bargain and pull their weight.