What Happens When an Employee Is Using Drugs or Alcohol?
Workers’ compensation insurance provides financial coverage for worker accidents and injuries. If your employee suffers an injury while they are at work, this coverage will help. It can pay for an employee’s medical bills and lost time at work.
But, what about the negligence component here? If an employee comes to work on drugs or after drinking alcohol, what are your options? Are you still liable in this situation? Several factors are important to consider here.
Here’s an Example
A person comes to work. He was just at a party and had a few drinks. He does his job. A few hours into the shift, the employee falls down a set of steps. He suffers significant physical injuries. He spends a week out of work and needs surgery.
Is the business responsible for these losses? Does workers compensation insurance apply here?
Your State’s Laws
State laws define how workers’ compensation insurance works. There is a strong level of control at the state level. However, most states are very clear here. If an individual comes to work intoxicated in any way, workers’ compensation claims receive no coverage.
In this example, then, the employee would receive no financial help for injuries or time lost at work. This applies to most states. However, your business insurance agent can provide more clarity here.
What If Your Employer Knew?
Let’s say that employee came to work, told his boss about drinking, and acted a bit out of sorts. The employer knew of the intoxication. In this situation, the scene is different. In this case, the employer knows of the risk. The employer does not do anything to remove that individual from the job. The employer puts the employee at risk. In this situation, workers’ compensation insurance may cover those losses.
Proving this to be the case can be difficult. In most situations, employers have very strict rules about using alcohol or drugs on the premises. Most will not let an employee begin work in these situations. Yet, if it happens, that employee’s manager or business owner may be negligent. This makes the company liable for these losses.
Every situation is unique. Speak to your business insurance agent about your risks. Discuss the steps you need to take to determine if employees are at risk like this. Update your Oakland workers’ compensation insurance to meet this potential risk.