Drug and Alcohol Users in the Workplace

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by aburley1, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. aburley1

    aburley1

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    Hi all,

    I am a 3rd year student currently working on my dissertation entitled 'Stress-related addictive behavior and affects on performance.' The food serving and preparation industry has a high rate of employees admitting to drug use and/or heavy drinking in their leisure time, or even at work. A kitchen can be a very stressful place to work, I am looking into how this stress can lead to employees taking substances as a stress release, and if an employee's performances worsen if they are taking drugs or heavily drinking in their spare time. In terms of an employees performance, this includes absenteeism, punctuality, accidents, productivity, proneness to mistakes etc. 

    I would like to gain more experiences of employees being drug users and/or heavy drinkers and how it can affect them. 

    If any kitchen managers or head chefs, or anyone who has had experiences with employees like this, I would be grateful if you could answer the few questions below, it will only take a few minutes and would be invaluable to my research paper.

    Many thanks. 

    Questionnaire: 

    1) Have you had any experience with other employees taking drugs in their spare time, at work, or arriving at work under the influence of substances? Yes/No

    2) If yes, did you notice any changes to their performance? were they more incident prone, miss work completely or late to work etc

    3) How did you, or the manager, react to this employee and what action was taken? 

    4) Do you think their is a drug/alcohol problem in this industry? Please provide a brief explanation of your choice.

    I thank you for your time and look forward to your responses.
     
  2. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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     I  have always drug tested employeea both before hire and after. Keeps everyone on their best behavior.    Keep in mind if they are high it could affect YOU or hurt you.
     
  3. aburley1

    aburley1

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    Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately drug testing does not happen in the most of the restaurants within this industry, even though it seems like an obvious must-have for management.
     
  4. uriah heep

    uriah heep

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    Never worked in a kitchen (have had patients who did) but against much resistance from old time substance abuse personnel current research indicates of those with addictions 60%+ also have a significant mental problem such as depression or a variants of bipolar disorder. The incidence will be less on a job setting as the statistics also include those with disorders such as schizophrenia who are unlikely to hold any skilled position.

    You might want to add the mental health issue into your calculations.
     
  5. chefross

    chefross

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    I don't submit to the idea that food service industry employees use drugs or alcohol as stress relief from the their work.

    As Uriah Heep (love it) pointed out the tendency was already there and their usage just continues unabated.

    Drug testing usually is common for corporations not so much for small mom and pops.
     
  6. texaschef 74

    texaschef 74

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    In my kitchen, I always tell my staff that what they do on their time is their business but in my kitchen they are on my time and there's no room for that stuff.  I even follow a code that if I am off and in the restaurant and have been drinking I'm a customer not the chef so I cannot involve myself in any issues.  As far as excess use for kitchen staff i would say its about even among any field except lawyers or law enforcement they tend to drink more than any people I know.
     
  7. raoulduke

    raoulduke

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    If someone is coming into work impaired it is an issue and a valid thing to be commented on by an employer based on it severity.

    However it is ridiculous to bias your opinion on someone based on what they do in their free time. Drug tests are a giant invasion of privacy and an absolutely terrible policy that has taken root in mainstream business. If someones work is impaired by their free time activities it is going to be noticeable anyway be it drinking, smoking weed, body building, over eating, prescription drugs, video games, religion, sex, ect, ect, ect, whatever.

    Drug tests pretty much rule out people who use cannabis, you weren't going to hire someone obviously using meth or whatever other schedule one substance might pop up on that test, and you probably weren't going to hire someone that was an obvious alcoholic. Your potential employee could test fine and be a narco fiend or on major mood altering medications, but that doesn't preclude them from the process. Smoking any amount of pot does however.

    Apparently that is the line between being an employable person and a drug fiend.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  8. aburley1

    aburley1

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    The food service industry has a higher use of drug users and heavy drinkers then most other industries, though there is many factors that influence it. The factors may be that they took drugs before, but this is not always the case, after a stressful day at work, waitresses may like a glass of wine etc. Also as it drug use is high in the industry, peer pressure and fitting in comes into it, joining a new kitchen team where you no no one and getting the offer to go with a group to get high and chill out after work is appealing. It is not definite that people have taken drugs previous, that is a big assumption - as is stress is the only cause of drug taking and alcohol drinking.
    But have you found any employees performance worsen if they were hungover and went out the night before? or stayed up to smoke cannabis with friends most of the night, leading to more mistakes/turning up late etc. Even though it is in their time, it can affect their performance at work at a later date. Also with regards to it being even among any field, employees admitting to drug use was ranked number 1 in the food preperation and service industry, and number 4 for employees admitting to heavy drinking - behind construction and 2 others.Research has consistently found for a variety of reasons that drug use and alcohol abuse is higher in this industry.
    That is a good point on drug testing and privacy, and one I hope to include in my conclusion, even though this free time activity may be illegal. 

    Can I just add I am purely looking for past experiences of employees coming into work high, making mistakes, or coming in hungover, or missing work completely etc. I am not looking to start a debate, and so if anyone could answer the questionnaire and give me their past experiences that would be great.
     
  9. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    The answers are pretty much a no brainer don't you think?

    Questionnaire: 

    1) Have you had any experience with other employees taking drugs in their spare time, at work, or arriving at work under the influence of substances? Yes/No yes

    2) If yes, did you notice any changes to their performance? were they more incident prone, miss work completely or late to work etc yes

    3) How did you, or the manager, react to this employee and what action was taken? company policies were followed

    4) Do you think their is a drug/alcohol problem in this industry? Please provide a brief explanation of your choice. yes, drug/alcohol use by employees is not conducive to any industry, it only create problems, not solutions
     
  10. aburley1

    aburley1

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    I agree the answers may seem obvious, but for my dissertation I need to conduct my own research into how employees performances have been affected by drug and alcohol use through past experiences that others have had in the industry. My dissertation would fail without any primary research, despite me being easily able to say a drunk/hungover employee performs worse.

    I would prefer slightly in depth answers, such as for question 2, what were the differences in their performance, just more mistakes, or were they also late etc? 

    and question 3, what were the companies policies, because I know from experience that managers have told employees who have come into work under the influence to simply drink a lot of coffee and sit outside for a bit to sober up - this is unprofessional and a safety risk but one of the ways in which they coped with it. This is clearly not the ideal way to react to an employee under the influence, but the managers will not always simply suspend, warn or fire them, regardless of the policy 
     
  11. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    On the contrary  Drug testing is becoming more and more prevelent. Insurance carriers tell employers their workmans comp insurance goes down if they test and in many places  if you get hurt on job, they drug test right away because if your  high you wont be able to collect benifits.
     
  12. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    2) If yes, did you notice any changes to their performance? were they more incident prone yes, miss work completely yes or late to work yes etc
    Then the managers would obviously not being following company policy

    3) How did you, or the manager, react to this employee and what action was taken? warned, written up, suspended, terminated
     
  13. aburley1

    aburley1

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    I work for a large restaurant chain in the UK, and drug testing is still minimal for it's employees. 
     
  14. aburley1

    aburley1

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    I'm looking for a specific experience. 
     
  15. chefross

    chefross

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    Worked for Marriott in their foodservice division college feeding. 5,000 students plus faculty, plus special functions, plus many banquets.

    Employees were from a previous foodservice company (Saga Corp.) that lost the contract but were allowed to stay under the new agreements.

    I was morning Sous Chef. I had a crew of 30 +

    I had a pizza lady that was high on crack most days.

    I could tell in here demeanor when she was on and when she was off.

    I had to do something as it was MY responsibility.

    She had been there for many many, years under the old contract and when she didn't show up, nothing was ever done to correct the problem.

    On her breaks, she was in the ladies room in a stall token up.

    She comes back to cook pizzas and is a fantastic salesperson, quick and funny and gets along with the students.

    She had caught on early as to what I wanted from my crew and she was excellent.

    But the fact remained she had a problem and it needed to be addressed.

    Verbal warnings, written warnings, 3-day suspensions, more warnings....finally the case comes down to this.....you either get help or we must terminate you.

    Marriott was willing to pick-up the cost of re-hab and give her time off.

    She would no agree to any of this.

    .

    Documenting everything so I could approach the situation with all the resources I could muster, she was eventually dealt with and was let go.

    I still stand by my original statement that while the restaurant industry has a higher rate of alcoholism and drug use, it does not necessarily equate that IT is the cause.
     
  16. aburley1

    aburley1

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    Thank you for your feedback, it's exactly what I need!

    In terms of 'I still stand by my original statement that while the restaurant industry has a higher rate of alcoholism and drug use, it does not necessarily equate that IT is the cause.' I agree it is not necessarily the cause, and I have taken into account the other possible factors into this for my research paper. My dissertation focus' on how stress in general can lead to turning to alcohol & drugs (ie. loss of family member can cause someone to heavily drink) and how addictive behaviors can diminish an employees performance, rather than specifically work stress in the food industry has led to an addiction. 
     
  17. beenjammin

    beenjammin

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    What do you mean by dissertation? Is this for a graduate degree? Typically research involving human subjects requires ethical clearance and a waiver to be signed by participants. What university are you at? Are there live interviews in addition to this forum? At the risk of appearing a jerk, I really think you need to look at some methods courses to help you develop a more productive interview process. 
     
  18. aburley1

    aburley1

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    Dissertation is my research paper project, yes for my graduates degree. By answering the questions on the forum, which is optional obviously, you are giving ethical clearance. I am doing live interviews as well at a specific workplace, however I wanted more experiences from a wider sample and so I came to a few forums. This method of gathering data is a very small part of my research, and my live pinterviews, questionnaires and other research methods have been more professional and formal. 
     
  19. beenjammin

    beenjammin

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    This absolutely must be clear. You need a proper form and a proper explanation, optional/informal or not. Come on man, this is your graduate degree, don't be a sloppy researcher. What program are you in?
     
  20. aburley1

    aburley1

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    Its pretty obvious that if you don't want any of your answers from a questionnaire in a research paper (Anonymously) you don't do the questionnaire. It is completely clear this is for a research paper, I have spoken to my lecturers and other university staff about an online forum thread, and a proper form and an explanation is required from the specific workplace that I am doing my research in. I do not appreciate being called sloppy considering you know very little about my research paper and myself, as I have said any answers on here will be used to the bare minimum, only ones which are suitable & will aid my analysis in my dissertation. I am a business Management student, and if you do not have any answers to the questionnaire, there is little benefit to me of your comments.