S4 E4: The Challenges of Substance Abuse in the Workplace


Podcast October 31, 2023

For HR professionals, navigating the intricacies of substance abuse in the workplace is both urgent and complex. With a significant number of workers believing in employer support for substance use management and widespread misconceptions about addiction treatments, HR faces the challenge of balancing employee well-being with organizational needs.
This week, AIM HR Solutions’ own Lori Bourgoin and Tom Jones join Pete Wright to delve deep into this complex issue, highlighting the real-world scenarios HR must grapple with, the legal implications, and the critical role they play in addressing and managing substance use challenges in the modern workplace.
Links & Notes

 


Transcript:

Pete Wright:
Welcome to Human Solutions, simplifying HR for people who love HR. From AIM HR Solutions on TruStory FM, I’m Pete Wright. For HR professionals, navigating the intricacies of substance abuse in the workplace is both urgent and complex with a significant number of workers believing in employer support for substance use management, and widespread misconceptions about addiction treatments, HR faces the challenge of balancing employee wellbeing with organizational needs. This week, AIM’s own Lori Bourgoin and Tom Jones join me to delve deep into this complex issue highlighting the real world scenarios HR must grapple with, the legal implications and the critical role they play in addressing and managing substance use challenges in the modern workplace. Lori and Tom, welcome back. It is so good to see you both today and I am delighted to be talking to you about a complex issue and one that I think we’re on a wave of change right now and I wonder if we could set the table a little bit for this conversation about what it is we’re talking about when we’re talking about substance abuse at work.

Lori Bourgoin:
Thanks Pete, for having us. When I first think of substance abuse in the workplace, I think about the changing landscape of our world and our country in terms of since the pandemic, there has been a large increase in overdose deaths in the state of Massachusetts, countrywide, as well as an increase in drug usage and mental health concerns since the pandemic. Anything that affects the country as a whole affects the workplace, of course, because a workplace is just a group of people. In addition, there have been many states that have legalized cannabis and it has impacted the workplace and pre-hire drug testing and so on and so forth. So there are changes and differences that have come into play in the last few years.

Pete Wright:
You bring up cannabis, which is today something that we have very strong feelings and a lot of money invested in cannabis and in the cannabis industry, and that has changed culturally and it feels like it’s moved categories, but what has replaced it is incredibly damaging. What we’re seeing in terms of the opioid epidemic seems like that’s something that is even more significant perhaps. And I’m curious what HR’s take is on how it is being received at work.

Tom Jones:
I think more and more companies are getting dragged into this issue. As employers struggle to find workers, one of the challenging issues they find is that people who may have been perhaps at the margins of the society previously, the substance abuse folks or in other difficult situations are now being brought into the workplace. And not just that, it’s always the existing employees who, for whatever reason, maybe a personal pain issue, a workers’ comp injury, some other reason have moved into the world of using heavy duty drugs such as the opioids. And so employers have to cope with that, trying to see if they can keep them working, try to see when’s the appropriate time to get someone into a rehab program, when’s the appropriate time to terminate somebody, put them on a disciplinary program? And so HR has got this extra level of responsibility that I think has really manifested itself post pandemic to force companies to think, oh my gosh, what am I going to do to hold onto these folks or to get rid of them? Whichever might be the appropriate course of action. And they’re really struggling over that.

Pete Wright:
Tom, I mean, you bring up a great point, and it feels to me like the friction that exists there for HR is, look, we know that there is a continuum of substance use, misuse, abuse, and also privacy in terms of HR. How do we know when to step in when an employee needs it most, when we can be most effective, and when we are not violating some sort of agreement to privacy?

Tom Jones:
It’s difficult. I mean, every state’s going to have their own privacy laws as to how far an employer may be able to get involved with someone, but I think the criteria an HR professional could use would be, is it disrupting the employee’s performance at work? Are they missing deadlines? Are they not coming to work on time? Are they taking days off excessively? Are they missing Mondays and Fridays a great deal? Are there objective criteria you can look to and say, okay, this employee has changed from what they previously were, we can no longer accept that, we have to do something about it? But it does mean that HR and the direct supervisor for that employee are going to have to be very alert to what’s going on with that person’s life in the workplace. Because as Lori said earlier, people in the workplace, they just come in from outside world, they have all that anxiety, all that stress, all that substance use, whatever it might be, and they’re bringing that into the workplace.

Pete Wright:
Lori, how well-equipped is HR to be responsive and aware to the degree that Tom’s talking about?

Lori Bourgoin:
Well, I mean, it can be very heartbreaking. I mean, these are your employees, these are the people you know, and if they have a substance abuse problem, drinking too much, even all the way to having an addiction of fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid, how can we help that person is the first thing. What resources do we have to help that person? Do we have an employee assistance program? Many employees do, many don’t. An employee assistance program can help employees with education, helping them find resources for treatment. Human resources can also help an employee who’s seeking treatment with what the health insurance covers. What are the facilities that are available to them? And while it can lead to discipline, if they do not seek treatment and they don’t get better and they’re not showing up for work or they’re disrupting the organization, then there are things called a last chance agreement where you could say to an employee, Hey, we think you’re great. We want to keep you here, but you have to get clean and here are some resources, here’s some time off maybe.
And Tom, we can go into the availability of time off. And we’re going to give you a shot and hopefully you can get clean. We’d love to have you back.

Tom Jones:
Yeah, and I think another thing that companies have started to face up to the fact is that they may have to have changed their culture. If the culture will at one point maybe more focused on getting product out the door, there now has to be more of a culture perhaps of empathy for some folks to try and hold onto them to give them that opportunity to A, admit that they’re struggling, and B, get a remedy in place, what Lori just talked about, the package of options. And a good employee assistance program could make a real difference in someone’s life.

Pete Wright:
Well, that gets to a really interesting question. When one needs help, that seems to be the wave that we’re counting on, a work program to help in this area for any number of reasons. I guess the question is what is the overall employer responsibility to help employees get clean?

Tom Jones:
In Massachusetts, we’re starting to see… And in some other states, not just Massachusetts, some other states as well, we’re starting to see the emergence of state-based leaves of absence laws, and they will typically provide job protected leave for X number of weeks for somebody to check themselves into a rehabilitation program. In Massachusetts, it’s up to 20 weeks. Other states have different laws. I mean, Connecticut, New York, Washington, California, Oregon all have different laws that may offer different timeframes, but the principle is basically the same, that you’re giving someone time off with job protected leave to go out and see if they can get themselves recovered back to where they were previously. So they’re starting to see that emergence around the country. Though on the federal level, the family and medical leave law, which has existed since 1993, offered similar benefits that just didn’t offer pay.
That’s been the big change in the last few years, is that all these state leave laws offer some form of compensation if maybe not 100%, partial wage replacement. So that gives the person a little bit less stress, but it does put an obligation on the company to hold that job for a period of time.

Pete Wright:
Lori, what are the complications internally for holding jobs for people who are out for substance abuse treatment?

Lori Bourgoin:
Well, I mean, there are jobs that need to get done. So on a temporary basis, employers can fill a job with over time or moving somebody else into the job for a certain amount of time, but it’s likely worthwhile if this employee can recover and come back as a functioning person within the organization. Recruitment and retention is basically job one right now. The job market is very, very tough. So if you have a great employee, putting the effort into helping that person to recover and get better on the right road and having a job back for them is essential. And there are also laws about having a job back for them. So under the FMLA for employers that have 50 plus employees and under the PFML in Massachusetts, we hold their job for a certain period of time and so that they can come back to the same or similar job. We also have the Americans with Disabilities Act that can we accommodate them coming back to a position with any disability that they may have?

Pete Wright:
So we’re talking right now about, I’ll generalize and say we’re talking about existing employees that are struggling with substance abuse, but one of you said earlier on this recruitment issue is non-trivial and drug testing for employee onboarding is standard in a lot of places. What has been the change, if any, in onboarding for substance abuse when recruiting, as you say, Lori, in a really complicated job market?

Tom Jones:
I mean, a couple of things we’re seeing change. One is that some companies that previously did testing for drug and alcohol have dropped it. They’ve had so much difficulty recruiting and retaining people that they’ve dropped the testing across the board. Another one is that they have cherry-picked out what the items are they test for. So for example, cannabis has been removed or THC has been removed from many drug tests pre-employment and companies are kind of rolling the dice and saying that, is this person going to be a problem when we get them? We’re not sure, but then they weren’t sure with alcohol either and they didn’t maybe test for alcohol and you can’t test the same way. So they’re struggling with that, but trying to figure out a way to get people at the same time maybe not learn as much information and just hope that things will work out. It’s a real challenge for a lot of employers. It’s a huge challenge.

Pete Wright:
So what are the implications of this? I mean, are you seeing calls coming in that are saying we removed drug testing and things have gotten harder?

Tom Jones:
Definitely seen calls that say we’ve removed drug testing. Companies then struggle with figuring out, well, okay, we didn’t test them upfront, now we found out they are drug using, what do we do about it? And so they’re trying to figure out do we tie our hands? The answer is no. You can still obviously address the employee’s performance while working for you. It might’ve been something you would’ve eliminated upfront by testing and then identifying them as a known drug user at the very beginning. They might not have been even hired, but you’re sort of stuck with that now. And there’s one other thing sitting out there, which is the workers’ compensation loss. Once you hire that person and they begin to work, if they get injured on the job, they may still be eligible for workers’ compensation, whether or not there was drugs or alcohol involved. That may be a factor in the litigation process, but it may turn out that they still are eligible for workers’ compensation and employers have sort of boxed themselves in a little bit by not testing upfront to that situation.

Lori Bourgoin:
There are some employers who may have government contracts or they have commercial licensed drivers, CDL drivers that must do pre-hire, random and different types of drug testing for the sheer nature of them being a government contractor or have CDL drivers for example. And so they have no choice but to include THC in their drug panel. It’s still illegal federally at this point in time. The other thing is for those employers who take THC out of their panel for drug testing, one of the reasons in addition to recruitment and retention of employees is that THC stays in your system for around 30 days. So it does not mean if I do a drug test on you right now that you are impaired in any way. So employers are thinking, is it really worth it for us to terminate somebody or not hire somebody because they test positive for THC? If you do not have drug testing, you could do something like reasonable suspicion testing.
So if a manager sees somebody who is impaired, smells like alcohol or marijuana, whatever the case may be, stumbling around or something like that, they could do a reasonable suspicion test if they have a policy in place and a practice in place and they have trained managers. And that could help to alleviate the issue of I just want people who are impaired who are in a safety sensitive job or not to be tested. That’s what my concern is, and so I’m going to put that practice and policy in place. That has been proven to be pretty effective if done in a right way. What do you think, Tom, of reasonable suspicion? What are you seeing?

Tom Jones:
You see that a lot, but that’s for incumbent employees, obviously that’s a very good way to handle the issue. But it does take strong training because you don’t want people who are supervisors be out to get somebody and say, ah, I’ll use this as a reason to drive them out. You have to be in good faith determining that, okay, we believe this person is impaired, therefore we’re going to test him or her as we would anybody within the organization assuming they met the same criteria. So it’s just using that as an extra tool and it’s a good tool as long as people are well-trained in how to do it.

Pete Wright:
I want to get into some scenarios, and one of them around the complication of prescriptions for potential challenging substances. When you have somebody on the job who is allowed to be taking these substances, let’s say, and an incident occurs on the job, is there a recourse to that or we just follow the workers’ comp laws? We follow the law as stated?

Tom Jones:
Most of the time you’d want that employee to disclose to the HR person, I’m taking X, Y, Z, and it may make me drowsy or it may impact me somehow. And so the company may collectively decide with the employee, okay, you need to take leave of absence because you’re going to need to be out for the next six weeks because you’ve got to get this drug out of your system and we can’t have you operating a machine, a forklift, or driving a vehicle, whatever it might be. So one way would be to, you’re right, people have prescription drugs. Hopefully they disclose it. And I know in a lot of company handbooks, you’ll see the handbooks say, if an employee is taking a prescription drug, they must disclose it to HR. And then there’s medical certification saying that yes, this is the impact of this drug. No, the person can’t work or they can work. Maybe they can work remotely, but they can’t work in person.
So you have to try and figure out what’s the appropriate response. It could impact the workers’ comp claim because if the employer knows about it and the employee still gets injured, I think it’s going to have almost no effect on the workers’ comp claim.

Lori Bourgoin:
And especially if that employee is in a safety sensitive job. And it’s really important, back to Tom’s point about training, it’s important to let employees know, note that this is our policy. You’re running this machine with all of these knives. If you are ever prescribed certain prescriptions or if you have any question, come to HR and let’s talk about it. And at times we can get a release from their physician. Just want you to know, here’s their job description. This is a pretty dangerous job. Are you sure that this person can fulfill this role under this medication? If not, what do we do?

Pete Wright:
Do we need to review then in that light what the current state of illegal use of substances is on the job? Because I think when I hear people… I hear a lot of young people. I’m at that point as a parent where I’m surrounded by young people going out and getting jobs, and we also live in a cannabis forward place. And so I have people in their twenties saying, “I’m never going to get a job. It’s illegal. They’re going to blood test me in all of this.” But there are some specific constraints around what constitutes illegal. And I think you can just run them down for me, Tom, right?

Tom Jones:
Well, clearly ones that have been banned under federal law or state law, which would be the opioids, marijuana at the federal level are clearly ones that may cause an applicant or an employee to get into trouble at the workplace because they may fail the testing regimen. Lori may have a better sense of other forms of narcotic or alcohol that may be involved from your experience more in HR.

Lori Bourgoin:
Well, let me just answer it this way. If you do drug testing let’s say, regardless. You do pre-hire, you do post-accident, near miss and you have a drug testing program, the individual who does your drug testing, an MRO will look at the results of that drug test. And if they are being tested positive for let’s say opioids, they will contact the employee that has been tested and asked questions, do you have a prescription for this or no? Is it your prescription? And different questions to assess is it illegal or is it legal that they’re taking this? And so the MRO can make that determination for you if you have a drug testing program. There’s so many remote employees right now, and when you’re remote your barriers to using while working are reduced, right? You go down to the kitchen and there is-

Pete Wright:
I bring my vodka to work. Alcohol in the coffee.

Lori Bourgoin:
Your Baileys’ in your coffee, right?

Pete Wright:
Yep.

Lori Bourgoin:
Much easier. Is that a problem or not?

Tom Jones:
At that point I think you just have to treat it as performance. So if Lori is having the problem and she misses meetings or she’s at a meeting and she’s kind of like this all the time, I think I’m going to have to treat it as performance. I prefer to have a conversation with them and say gee, we’ve observed these things going on at work and do you have an explanation? And she gets very defensive and argumentative and says, no, I don’t know what’s going on. I’m going to say, well, look, we’re letting you know track of this behavior, and if it continues then we’re going to have to put you on her discipline track. Assuming she never comes to work. If she comes to work, maybe I have a direct conversation with her.

Pete Wright:
Well, that’s actually a really good point. Lori, I mean, to that point it feels like we have rules to address this, to address behavior. Maybe it doesn’t have to be a substance abuse question at all, even if substances are involved in some way, shape, or form.

Lori Bourgoin:
Well, if it’s a hybrid employee, there is a face-to-face, you can see behaviors in action, but if it’s a fully remote person maybe it’s you the HR person or the manager or both sitting down with that person and saying, hey, what’s going on? These are a few things that we’re finding. Is there something going on in your life? We just want to bring it to your attention to help you to get better. What’s happening? And you can speak to the behaviors and the performance issues that you’re seeing and put a plan forward. At that point in time, the employee may say, you know what? I’m really having a hard time being home all day. I have this problem. And then there we go, here are some resources available, blah, blah, blah.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Tom Jones:
One thing that’s very helpful is then explaining to the person what that means. So if you say, okay, Pete, there’s a program that will help you give you job protected leave for up to 20 weeks or 10 weeks or whatever it might be. But I want to explain to you at the end of that time here’s what you have to do in order to come back to work. Because I’ve seen people go out and think, oh, that’s great. I’ll just take six weeks off and then I’ll come back. Well, no, the company’s going to look for some documentation to show that you’re better or you’re on the path to getting better. You’re taking the necessary steps. That may mean there’s an accommodation in the future like giving you time off to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or something like that, but at least there’s a plan and the employer has the right to expect that when the employee comes back to work. There’s some clear path for it, it just wasn’t six weeks off where they could stay home.
Well, the employer’s going to want to know that it addresses the issues for why the employee went out. Was there a program in place? Did it address these issues, that rehab program? Is the person getting treated? Are they starting the path to sobriety, recovery, whatever it might be so that they can work.

Pete Wright:
I have a scenario for you, and I think this is an ADA scenario that surprises me and we’ll talk about Lily because I think the ADA talks about Lily. Lily says she’s been cocaine free for about three years. She applies for a job that she is qualified to do, and in her enthusiasm she outs herself that she is in recovery for three years from this addiction. The interviewer has options at this point. What happens next?

Lori Bourgoin:
The way I look at it as an HR person is there’s no relevance to having that conversation with a candidate who is able to fulfill the job responsibilities. She’s been clean for three years, what difference does it make at this point in time? Also, under the Americans with Disability, ADA, if an individual is not using then they cannot be disqualified from a position for prior drug use.

Tom Jones:
And I think if the HR person were somehow to inadvertently or intentionally pursue that line of comment, they only get themselves further in trouble because they’re beginning to go into the area of protected actions on the part of the applicant. As Lori said, they’re an applicant who no longer has an addiction problem. They had one three years ago. Assuming they can perform the essential function to the job, the ADA really shouldn’t even be involved. It should just be the part of the application process and make sure is this person qualified to do the job? So if you were to pursue that and somehow use that information to deny the person the job, then you’ve walked into an ADA lawsuit potentially, and it’s not one you’re going to do well in.

Lori Bourgoin:
It may be a good time to high five and congratulate her on being three years clean.

Pete Wright:
Great solution. You have options? Take the high five. Always take the high five. So let’s talk about complex scenarios. And when I think of a complex scenario, Lori, I’m thinking about complex scenarios that could impact something beyond what HR is immediately dealing with, possibly culture at the organization. And so when you approach an employee and you say, hey, we had to do this test because you’re in a safety essential role and we have a positive test, and that employee comes back to you and says, no, I don’t use. Suddenly, that creates friction in the organization. How do you handle those sorts of scenarios?

Lori Bourgoin:
Well, I think it’s important for planning. So what is our drug policy? How is it handled? Making sure it’s very clear step by step and that employees understand it. And the policy should state that the process that we go through if we have suspicion or post-accident or whatever we’re doing is that we send you for a drug test. And the drug test is through thus and so, and they will make the assessment if you are positive or negative. We do not. That is not on us. So if you do have a positive, this is how we’ll handle it. We’ll give you a little last chance agreement. We’ll terminate your employment. We will help you seek treatment. Whatever the case may be. If the employee at that point says, I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m not positive. Well, I’m going to have you connect back with the MRO who spoke with you and you can work it out with them, but they are a certified drug testing organization and we are going to use those results for our policy.

Pete Wright:
Have you ever experienced an MRO make the kind of mistake that would cause this sort of friction?

Lori Bourgoin:
Never. Never. I think what happens is if you have a good MRO, a medical review officer, they’ve already had the conversation with the employee, that we found this. Is there any reason why we could have found this? I had an example of an employee who tested positive for THC and it was a CDL driver. And the driver or the employee told the MRO, I never ever smoked marijuana, I drive a limo at night and the people in my limo were smoking and it must have been secondhand. And the MRO said, “No, that’s not going to fly.” And they have government guidelines that they must follow, so it was definitely a positive, unfortunately.

Pete Wright:
Oh, that’s too bad.

Lori Bourgoin:
It is.

Pete Wright:
From the perspective of the limo driver, you try stuff, right?

Lori Bourgoin:
As an HR person, you feel terrible for the employee, but you hope for the best for them. But your policies, you have to be consistent in their application with empathy.

Tom Jones:
Most of those excuses such as overeating poppy seed bagels or-

Lori Bourgoin:
Like Elaine on Seinfeld?

Tom Jones:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Like Elaine on Seinfeld. Awesome pull, Lori. Oh, man.

Tom Jones:
I mean, the studies I’ve seen on secondhand smoke basically say you have to be sort of kissing that person as they exhale. You really have to be close to them. So sitting in the front of a limousine when all these people are in the back, you’ll get the smell in your clothes and it’s no question about that, but that won’t get the same impact on your body.

Lori Bourgoin:
It’s worth a shot to make that excuse though. Don’t you think?

Tom Jones:
Yeah, it’s worth a shot.

Lori Bourgoin:
It’s worth a shot. What do you got to lose?

Tom Jones:
I know, but it does hurt your credibility obviously with HR because if it turns out that the testing regime is good, they’re going to look at you and say, well, maybe we’d have put you a last chance agreement, but now if you’re going to be so stubborn and adamant-

Pete Wright:
Yeah, now you’re lying to us.

Tom Jones:
Basically, yeah, you’re lying to us and we can’t work with that.

Lori Bourgoin:
And an MRO could tell you more than I do, but I know they will also do splits. So they’ll split the-

Tom Jones:
Sample.

Lori Bourgoin:
Their sample in half and do one in one so that they can be assured yeah, that this was a positive.

Pete Wright:
As we get to wrapping up here, just my overwhelming feeling is that where we are right now for HR people listening is that things are harder, more complicated than they were say 30 years ago. And part of it is because the lines aren’t so black and white, right? That we now, as you say, we have to run the organization, but now we have to run it with empathy. We’re not just going to terminate with cause, we’re running with empathy and we have to navigate the whole employee in their recovery. And I don’t say that as if it’s some sort of begrudging obligation, I think it’s great that we consider our employees’ entire lives as they integrate with our organizations, but I think that makes things more complicated in this substance abuse scenario. So can I just get your reflections on how you would guide HR pros in terms of training and upleveling the organization so that managers are better equipped to handle this sort of stuff? Lori, do you want to go first?

Lori Bourgoin:
Well, first I would have a really good policy that you believe in. So do we test? Why do we test? And how does that process work? If you are suspected of being impaired, this is what happens. This is what we do. And if you ultimately test positive, these are the resources and this is how we do it. We do a last chance agreement, we have many resources through EAP and your health insurance, and our hope is that we can get you on the road to recovery. The other thing is to have a plan. So make sure internally, even if it’s on third shift, we have somebody who showed up to work and they’re clearly intoxicated what do we do? Send them for testing, make sure that they don’t drive for testing. What is the process? And the third is training. Making sure employees understand what your drug alcohol policy is, what the resources are available to them to help them through their EAP, through their health insurance.
You could have posters to help people understand how opioids work, when to take and don’t take them. And also training managers, how do I handle this if I’m in this situation? So that they’re comfortable and they don’t either ignore it or handle it incorrectly because that would be our fault if we haven’t trained them.

Tom Jones:
And Lori touched on all the major points I think I’d want to touch on. I mean, you’d want to make sure that someone in HR, in the company either knew the law or had some resource handy. They had an outside law firm, they used employer trade association like us or somebody like that so that they had a quick resource. The other thing I would always suggest is that companies should check their EAP. Call them, HR should call them and say, what happens if I call with something like this? So they can speak with authority and say to the employees, here’s the resources they’re going to provide you. Here’s the benefits you’ll get from this. Sometimes EAPs are just an 800 number and they can send you down a rabbit hole and don’t offer the services you might want. Other times they’re fantastic and most of the time they are, but you want to check out to make sure any service you’re willing to provide meets that criteria.
And if you are noticing a pattern of drug and alcohol issues in the workplace and you don’t have an EAP or anything like it, you want to start talking to people about what’s a good EAP? Is there a good employee assistance program we can rely upon? I think that’s a major issue. I think sitting down with employees regularly to make sure they’re aware that they have resources with the company is helpful. There are benefits under state law if there are, under federal law if there are that people should not feel they’re alone because you’re right, companies sort of dance with this delicate issue. We’re not going to become your parent, but at the same time we recognize that you may be struggling, so we don’t want you to feel isolated and alone and lost out there. And it’s a real challenge for companies to walk that fine line between how deeply involved should they get in their employees’ lives.

Pete Wright:
Complicated issue. I’ve got lots of links to all of the associated acts that we have talked about, the ADA and Family Medical Leave Act and National Labor Relations Act. All the acts are in the show notes. Also, I think for this in particular, swipe up in the show notes to find the AIM HR helpline. AIM members reach out to the HR helpline with questions, phone numbers in there. It is in fact an 800 number away, 800-470-6277 or helpline@aimnet.org. You might get Tom himself, and I don’t know if he sends autographs, but we have lots of other resources. Anything else specifically that you two would like to make sure that I include in the notes for folks?

Lori Bourgoin:
Well, there is a website called findtreatment.gov, and that is available to employers through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. There’s a lot of resources, posters, information for employers so when you’re sitting across from an employee who is having difficulties and is ready for treatment, this might be a great website for you to go to put in some information and give some options to the employee.

Pete Wright:
Perfect.

Lori Bourgoin:
Also on the EAP side and on the health insurance side, proactively what resources can they provide your workplace in terms of training education related to this particular topic? Use your vendors. You’re paying them, get the most out of them would be my recommendation.

Tom Jones:
And your workers’ comp carrier may be a help in that regard too. Some of them have very active loss control efforts and others don’t but that’s okay, but you might want to reach out to them. Same thing Lori said, you’re paying for it already.

Pete Wright:
Make use of it.

Tom Jones:
Ask them what services they provide.

Pete Wright:
Thank you both very much for illuminating this complicated issue. It’s hard. It’s hard for everybody. It is a whole organization issue, and I think one of the things that stands out to me is that doing good by the employee is a public good at this point in this country. It is a public good. You’re doing the right thing.

Lori Bourgoin:
Yes.

Pete Wright:
So there we have it. Thank you so much, Lori Bourgoin, Tom Jones, always great to have you on this show.

Lori Bourgoin:
Thanks Pete.

Tom Jones:
Thanks Pete.

Pete Wright:
And thank you everybody for downloading and listening to this show. We appreciate your time and your attention. Find those links and listen to the show at aimhrolutions.com, or you can listen to the show right there on the website or anywhere great podcasts are served. Until next week, on behalf of Lori Bourgoin and Tom Jones, I’m Pete Wright. We’ll see you right here on Human Solutions, simplifying HR for people who love HR.

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April 16, 2024

S5 E5: The Complicated Reality of Workplace Wellness Programs

A controversial article circulated a few months back criticizing the effectiveness of many workplace wellness programs. Jen Moff sits down with Pete Wright to talk about the perspective, and give you a path toward programs that work.

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April 9, 2024

S5 E4: Exploring Workplace Coaching

This episode delves into the true power of coaching, debunking myths and highlighting its transformative potential in professional growth and career transitions.

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April 2, 2024

S5 E3: The Big 3: The Top Categories of Calls to the HR Helpline

Ever wonder what the most common questions HR professionals grapple with are? In this episode we are joined by AIM HR Solutions team members, Tom Jones and Terry Cook will bring their expertise to the forefront on pressing HR issues.

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March 26, 2024

S5 E2: Fueling DEI in Your Organization

In the rich tapestry of today’s workforce, the threads of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are not just woven in; they’re becoming the very fabric of organizational culture. Karen Wallace, Executive Vice President of Economic Inclusion at AIM sits down to share her perspectives with Pete Wright this week.

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March 21, 2024

S5 E1: Peering into HR’s Crystal Ball: 2024 and Beyond

This week, Kyle Pardo and Tom Jones join Pete Wright to tackle everything from the intricacies of current compliance issues, such as FLSA and leave laws, to the emerging trends of AI, skills-based hiring, and the transformative power of mindful leadership.

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