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Substance abuse in restaurants can lead to workers’ comp claims

A restaurant job can be the starting point for someone’s career, or an individual may continue working in fast-paced kitchen environments because of the competitive wages possible. It is common for stress to affect the mental health of those working in restaurants, both in the front of the house and in the kitchen. 

Especially when your restaurant has a bar, staff members may drink as a way to cope with the pressure on the job. There are also many restaurant workers who abuse stronger drugs, possibly while outside having a smoke break. Substance abuse is quite common at restaurants, and it could potentially help a business defend against a workers’ compensation claim. 

Intoxication may have caused the injury

Although your company may have a written policy against substance abuse on the clock, managers may turn a blind eye to cooks that drink while on break or servers using drugs discreetly during their shifts. Some workers may even manage to completely hide signs of their substance abuse, only to end up falling and getting hurt or slicing their palms open with a knife. 

Drug and alcohol testing is often automatic during a workers’ compensation claim. Your insurance provider may require testing. If you self-insure, you can require a chemical test as part of the early claims process. 

Provided that the business can show that the worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and that the chemical impairment directly caused the injury, the employee who got hurt may not be able to demand benefits. Illegal activity, including being publicly drunk or abusing drugs, and violating company policy are both behaviors that could limit an employer’s liability when a worker gets hurt. 

Embracing practices, like automatic drug screening, that will help your company defend against workers’ compensation claims will potentially deter misconduct and help your business minimize its liability.

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