I Suspect a Team Member Has a Substance Abuse Issue

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

What do we do when we have an employee who is loved by all but is clearly having some significant personal issues? We aren’t sure if he is drinking or using drugs, but lately in team meetings he is slurring his words and sometimes just drops off camera.

One of the advisors who is close to him reached out and it turns out he is going through a messy divorce and his wife is fighting to keep the kids. He was very open with this colleague about what is happening, but he refused to acknowledge any substance abuse. He asked that we leave him alone to deal with his problems and that people not call him to check in.

However, he continues to participate in these sessions (mostly held in the early afternoon) and he seems at best distracted, at worst under the influence.

What is he doing with clients? That is my worry.

What is our responsibility? Do we provide him with outside services? Do we all call him to offer our support? We are a small team, 13 people, and we are fairly close (not personally, but professionally). We all know his wife well and we were shocked to hear what is happening on the home front.

We remain remote. We do not want to return to the office until September at the earliest.