How to Detect Drug Trafficking in the Workplace

Is an employee selling drugs from their job? What are signs of drug trafficking in the workplace? What can human resources do to stop drug dealing at work? These are questions every business owner and human resources department should be asking themselves before contacting a private investigator.

Why is an employee meeting with people in the parking lot on break?

It’s common for drug deals to happen in cars. It makes for a quick and private way to do an exchange in plain sight. In the backseat of car, on break from work, is where Jade Violes sold heroin while working at a Pizza Hut in Indiana.

In 2015, Violes was arrested for selling heroin after an undercover police officer purchased from her in the Pizza Hut parking lot. If an employee is meeting with people in cars during work hours it’s not unreasonable to suspect they may be selling drugs.

Why do employees keep meeting in the bathroom?

Do employees sell drugs in the bathroom at work? At the Senate mail room in Pennsylvania they did. This past March two employees of the Pennsylvania Senate were charged with crimes related to the distribution of heroin. A third employee was also fired from their job in connection to the drug peddling.

Police were alerted to the crimes when an employee not involved in the inter-office drug trade found 20 packets of heroin in the bathroom. Corey Miller was charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance after police found eight more packets of heroin in his wallet. Bathrooms can offer privacy to employees that some find too tempting to resist exploiting.

How can they afford all that stuff?

Does driving a fancy car mean someone is selling drugs? What about buying a new big screen TV and the latest smart phone? What if an employee is doing all of this and more? If this is the case then you may want to call an investigator.

Human resources departments know how much an employee earns from their job. If an employee is suddenly showing up in expensive clothes with fancy accessories and they haven’t picked up a second job then something could be up. It’s one thing to live outside your means, but there are limits to how much one can acquire on credit alone.

We recently fired an employee for using drugs at work. Could there be more?

Was an employee recently fired for using drugs at work? Were they the only person using on the job? Were they buying drugs at work? These are questions every human resources department should be asking when an employee is caught using drugs on the job.

Some businesses believe the nature of their work precludes them from having drug dealers in their midst, but that’s a mistake. It may be easy to write-off drug dealing from Pizza Hut, but it’s tougher when someone like 53-year-old James Peter Kranyecz gets busted selling marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine from the church he worked at.

We caught an employee bringing drugs to work. Were they the only one?

Catch an employee with a small amount of drugs? Don’t just assume it was for personal use. The packaging and quantity of drugs should be taken note of when considering what to do next. Did the employee bring drugs on-site for personal use or were they distributing to coworkers? Was the employee acting alone or with their coworkers?

Earlier this year five United States Postal workers were arrested after conspiring to help distribute marijuana through the postal system. First, the postal workers gave their work schedules and routes to a drug dealer. Then the dealer timed when he mailed the drugs to make sure they ended up in the postal workers’ hands. According to News 5 Cleveland, Michael Tobin of the US Attorney’s Office said, “These are folks who had jobs, decent jobs as mail carriers, and they threw it all away for $200, $300, $400 of cash.”

For Private Investigation Inquiry contact Thomas Lauth, Lauth Investigations 317-951-1100

David Schroeder, Blog Writer, Lauth Investigations International

7 Steps to Take When You’re Suspicious of Employee Drug Abuse

7 Steps to Take When You’re Suspicious of Employee Drug Abuse

drug abuseEmployee drug abuse in the workplace can lead to a wide variety of problems, many of which can affect your company’s bottom line. Whether the drug happens to be alcohol, prescription medication or illegal substances, and regardless of whether the use is occurring during working hours or on the employee’s personal time, the results can include:

  • Decreased performance
  • Increase in tardiness and absenteeism
  • Lower productivity
  • Higher employee turnover
  • Increase in expenses associated with medical care and workers’ comp
  • Increased risk of workplace violence

Not only do these things affect the employee in question and the company as a whole, but they can also have a negative impact on other employees, leading to a host of other problems. To avoid this, management and those in HR must be proactive and vigilant so potential issues can be addressed swiftly and effectively. If you suspect that one or more of your employees may be abusing drugs, here are 7 steps to get the situation under control.

Develop a Clear-Cut Policy – In order to legally take action against a worker who is abusing drugs or alcohol, you must first have a policy in place that addresses such situations. For optimum results, your employee drug abuse policy should include the ability to test in the event of reasonable suspicion. The policy should be in writing and all employees should sign off acknowledging their understanding and agreement. If you don’t have such a policy in place, consult with your legal counsel to ensure proper implementation.

Watch for Warning Signs – An employee who is abusing drugs or alcohol may not always be blatantly intoxicated. Therefore, it’s important to know what warning signs and red flags may indicate possible employee drug abuse so they can be identified and tracked. Some common things to watch for include sudden change in behavior, excessive tardiness or sick days, withdrawal from others (i.e. the sudden desire to work alone, away from co-workers and/or supervision).

Train Those in Charge – HR representatives may not be able to identify the signs of potential drug abuse right away because they aren’t in direct contact with workers in every department. That’s why front-line managers should be properly trained and advised of their role in spotting red flags as well as the appropriate steps for documenting and reporting such suspicions.

Keep a Detailed Record – Employment laws protect workers from being unjustly disciplined or terminated, so be sure to do your due diligence. Any and all cases of suspected employee drug abuse should be clearly documented. This will help you establish your case and protect you from any potential backlash.

Meet with a Witness – Once a case of suspected employee drug abuse has been properly observed and documented, the next step is meeting with the worker in question to discuss the suspicions and a proposed plan of action. A witness should always be present to keep detailed notes and provide a third-party account of what occurs. Go over your company policy and discuss the appropriate next steps.

Test (When Allowed) – It’s important to note that drug testing is a legal issue and therefore should always involve the advice and/or guidance of an appropriate legal representative. Provided that you have the authority to legally do so, follow through with drug testing, either at designated intervals or when a suspicion arises.

Take Action – Depending on the regulations in your area, as well as what’s set forth in your company policy, the appropriate action should be taken when suspected employee drug abuse occurs. This may be a warning, a suspension or termination of employment. Remember to always stay within your legal rights based on what the employment laws in your state allow. When in question, always consult with a legal professional.

Of course, some companies find it too tedious to follow up on suspected employee drug abuse. If you find yourself in this boat, enlisting the help of an experienced private investigator can help alleviate some of the burden and help you focus on what’s most important: protecting your other employees and your reputation. Give us a call and let’s discuss how we can help!