Supervisor Newsletter - March 2020

My worker entered alcoholism treatment following a PAS referral, but then his wife of 25 years left him immediately! I am worried that this crisis might prompt him to stop treatment. He would then lose his job. What should I do?

After many years of engaging in a toxic relationship, a codependent partner of an alcoholic or addict may desire to exit the relationship in the hope that professionals will manage the crisis. All addiction treatment professionals are familiar with this dynamic. Typically, they evaluate and, if possible, encourage postponement of dramatic changes. Contact the PAS, share the information you have regarding this situation, and allow the PAS to work with the treatment program and your employee to ensure the best outcome. 

If an employee is showing visible symptoms of depression, why is it a problem to refer the employee to PAS based on their depression and not on performance issues?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) become relevant when your discussion centers on the existence of a medical problem. If your employee has not stated he or she is depressed or suffers with a condition that needs some sort of help to overcome, then it is better to focus just on the performance-related matters. You’re right; most people know a few or more symptoms of depression, but missing work, coming in late, staring off in a daze, or not engaging with fellow workers effectively enough to manage the work does not necessarily mean major depression. What’s more, these behaviors do not demonstrate that you know or should have known the worker is depressed. Acting as if the worker is depressed would also be relevant to employment laws. The behaviors listed above alone are enough for a supervisor referral. At PAS, the issue of depression or some other condition with similar symptoms will be explored.

I am not sure what consultative help PAS can give me as a supervisor. Can you give me an idea of how PAS can be helpful?

Some of the most valuable ways PAS can help supervisors includes: engaging employees, determining how to inspire workers, identifying resources, acting as a sounding board, improving communication orally and in writing, handling stress, improving your relationship with upper managers, helping resolve personal problems, and offering suggestions for  observing, documenting, confronting, and following up with employees after an PAS referral. If you are interested in learning more, contact PAS at 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727).