Friday, August 27, 2010

Amazing Drug Injury Lawsuit Case--Employee Loses

Just to see the insanity in action, and have a nice example for marketing your EAP to deal with drug cases,  get this: An employee using Meth was injured on the job. It would have been compensable, but of course, the drug test at the hospital showed he was on Methamphetamine. So, naturally, the company said, "No way" and the Workers' Compensation Insurer said--"no way, buddy, the injury was sustained while you were on Meth."

So, this drug user says, well, the fall was your guys fault. Not mine. I was on Meth, true, but the injury was still because of your negligence. But since the Workers' Comp doesn't cover injuries when someone is using Meth or other drugs, I am suing you! I am suing for thousands of dollars because Workers' Comp doesn't cover this sort of situation anyway! Okay, so I was high as a kite. But, it was your fault I got injured. Let's go to court.

Off to court they went.

How much it cost to defend this lunacy is anyone's guess. I would love to know! However, the court said the case of the injury was in fact "the jurisdiction of the Workers' Compensation plan", the only issue was, drug-related injuries aren't covered. But the WC still protects the employer from lawsuits.

So, it is not that the WC system does not have jurisdiction. It does. It is just that WC won't cover it, even though the injury is the employer's fault. Therefore there is no remedy and you can't sue the employer becuase Workers' Compensatin protects the employer against lawsuits!

The Meth user is stuck with the medical bill. Amazing case.

Could the EAP have helped? You make the call! If this employee was referred to the EAP, the EAP could have played a role in helping this employee get treatment and talked common sense into him. That may have prevented the umteen thousand dollar legal bill to defend this case.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are You Giving Enough Respect to Respect Training?

If you're conducting workplace violence prevention training, be sure to not overlook subjects tangential to this topic that may be more critical in preventing a workplace violence incident than learning about the signs and symptoms of an employee prone to act violently. You know, the employee who may also have a long history of being harassed, disrespected, involved in conflicts, and who has no appropriate assertiveness skills to confront a supervisors who has bullied him or her. Are you catching my drift?

Too many training programs talk about how to spot the employee who might turn into a shooter, signs and symptoms of troubling behaviors in the workplace, and how to find the nearest exit if the bullets start flying. But preventing workplace violence is much more complex than these packages of the same old information.

There are several critical areas that need attention. Each of the following play critical roles in educating employees and supervisors in prevention of workplace violence -- conflict resolution between coworkers, respectful workplace training in general, training on the supervisor's role in supporting a respectful workplace, and training on avoiding workplace harassment and many behaviors that fall within the scope of this topic.

Then of course, the direct education and awareness about preventing workplace violence should also be include. Consider whether any of the following workplace wellness education products can assist you above.

You know what, I am going to take it one step furth and add Improving Assertiveness Skills. If you are a psychotherapist or other clinical type, you know that assertiveness is not just about asking for the last piece of pie on the table. It's about living proactively.

When one's rights are violated, stepping up to the plate to say "no" and "stop that" and if needed, heading for HR to get help could make the difference between intervention early and SWAT intervention later.

Do you need to deliver all this material at once? Of course not. And you shouldn't. Instead come back over the course of a year an sell the workplace violence prevention message by discussing these topics in their proper context. Employees will get the message, and of course the workplace tragedy you prevent will never be known. Good thing, Still take the credit. You deserve it.