Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld and Roger WinthropThree-person employment mediation between a truck driver and his company's personnel director, mediated by an Employee Assistance Program representative, regarding a positive drug test; a four-person version also includes a union representative
A truck driver in the highly competitive, deregulated trucking industry has tested positive for drug use in a random, workplace drug test. The driver has not actually taken any drugs, but tested positive because of passive exposure to marijuana. The personnel director, the truck driver, and a representative from the Employee Assistance Program Center are meeting to negotiate appropriate action. In the unionized version, a teamster business agent is also present.
- Substantively, this exercise simulates the complex emotions that occur when someone’s job is on the line. Work can be done with the guilt and anger that results.
- There are also many context-lessons on doing testing — especially around mutual gains alternatives such as testing for impairment (reflex tests, etc.) rather than testing for drugs. Some employers have experimented along these lines to good effect. There are related issues around the potential benefits of such tests (where they are not legally mandated) in comparison to the costs.
- The exercise provides opportunities for individuals to reflect the way in which we become locked in to unconstructive policies or career threatening stances — as well as prompting exploration of alternatives.
- A key process lesson concerns the capacity of the EAP person to serve as a mediator, which varies with the unionized and non-union scenarios. In the unionized version, the EAP gets group together with the employer and mediation is more difficult.
Drug Testing in the Workplace Attributes
- Time required:
- 1-2 hours
- Number of participants:
- Teams involved:
- Agent present:
- Neutral third party present:
- Teaching notes available:
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If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.
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