Should Your Small Business Have a DUI Policy?
Small businesses can be very fragile, particularly when it comes to their resources and risks. While many events can happen that may not impact a large corporation significantly, in a smaller operation, they can be devastating.
Any company is only as good as its staff from the bottom up. For a small service, every employee is critical. In larger firms, people can tend to fall through the cracks unless they make a public display or do something outrageous. Because staff for a smaller firm is so much more immediately and readily identified, their reputation is every bit as important as that of the business, in fact, even more so.
One of the ways that staff and business reputations can really suffer is if the employee happens to get a DUI. Orlando DUI lawyers say that an arrest can be processed not just for alcohol, but also for prescription drugs, over the counter medications, and other illegal substances. It only takes a small amount of alcohol to be considered “under the influence,” so many people are unaware of just how easy it is to be stopped and cited. Many states have increased law enforcement on roads to bring awareness to, and combat, the ever increasing DUI problem.
When a small business staff member gets arrested for driving under the influence, a number of disruptions for the business can occur. First, depending upon the severity of the offense, the staff member may be unavailable for quite some time. In states like Florida, severe penalties and fines can include jail time and license suspension. When this occurs, the employee’s ability to get to work could be severely hampered. In many regions, there are little if any alternatives to driving.
Customer service is a number one concern in particular for smaller companies, so it is critical that their service levels are always higher than average. Staff is not always so easily replaced, if at all at some companies, so a staff DUI could cause financial hardship for the company. When adequate staff is unavailable to service customers properly, small businesses in particular will take losses that a larger firm may not experience.
In addition to financial losses caused by a decrease in service levels, an employee DUI could cost a company its good reputation. In some instances, it could become so severe that it is unlikely that the business will ever recover fully. Also, if, and once, word gets out about an employee’s arrest, some customers may be reluctant to continue to do business with the company. Prospects may also decide not to pursue a relationship with the company.
As if the prospect of business loss weren’t enough, an employee DUI can cost the company higher insurance premiums as their risks are perceived to rise. This is a cost that may increase more over time. Again, this is something from which a business may never recover.
DUI Employment Policies
All of the above reasons are more than enough to consider the benefits of having a DUI policy in place. Below are some steps to take:
1. Institute a zero tolerance policy on DUI that begins on the first day of employment.
2. Add a clause that covers public morality to the employee handbook.
3. Specify in the clause that arrests for driving under the influence and public intoxication will not be tolerated because it reflects badly upon the company.
4. Review the handbook section with each employee. Explain the rules and ensure that they understand the repercussions, including employment termination.
5. Have each employee sign a statement saying that they were informed of the rules and understand them.
6. Keep a copy of the signed document in each employee file.
In today’s competitive business climate, company reputation is everything. Therefore, anything that has the potential to sully the way that the public may perceive a small company is potentially harmful to its existence. Establishing a zero tolerance DUI policy for a small business is one of the easiest and best available protections.
Teresa Stewart ran a small business that incorporated auto rides in the service, and she wants to raise awareness in other sba’s for the need of a DUI policy, even if it’s simply a two person business. If arrested for DUI, it is critical to have a knowledgeable and aggressive attorney to represent you. Katz & Phillips, P.A. can do just that as they have a team of Orlando DUI lawyers that are board certified in DUI.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/13448250@N08/3188277702/
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