Posts

Workaholics Anonymous | Drug Abuse Among Nurses

Nursing is one of the most admirable positions a person can hold. It takes a kind, strong soul to maintain the desire to continue helping people each and every day. The endless workload can take it’s toll on nurses, as double shifts, rotating shifts, decreased staffing and other factors can lead to high levels of stress. Fatigue, alienation, and the “workaholic” mentality can be tough to deal with and oftentimes, lead to nurses living, breathing, and sleeping through their work. This can lead to drug and alcohol abuse.

Much like anyone else, someone who is in an unstable environment is at risk for abusing alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately for nurses, though the work they do is for the betterment of patients and their families, it is indeed an unstable environment for them. They battle through it each and every day and continue to show up, and that is a testament to all nurses all over the country.

The American Nurses Association has estimated that around 8% of nurses use either alcohol or drugs to an extent that could impair their professional judgement. One could suspect that up to 10% of nurses have alcohol or drug abuse problems, based on the lifestyle that nurses are forced to live. Prescription-type medication use has been noted to be higher among nurses, while cocaine and marijuana use is lower than the general population.

Drug and alcohol abuse can greatly affect an individual’s wellbeing, as well as their families and friends. This could increase tenfold when dealing with the responsibilities that a nurse has when taking care of patients. Drug abuse from nurses is a very harmful and dangerous situation. Just a few consequences that could happen when a nurse is using drugs or abusing alcohol include:

  • Patient mistreatment, including incorrect basic care, medication errors and abuse
  • Patient death
  • Higher hospital or clinic costs associated with legalities of patient mistreatment, stolen drugs, lost wages, training, and re-hiring
  • Nurses may lose time due to treatment, thus receive lower wages
  • Nurses can lose their job and even their entire career depending on the damage drug abuse has caused in their life

Employers that are hiring new nurses should be aware of the risks associated, and implement a drug testing policy with all employees. There are benefits to pre employment drug testing, in order to weed out potential hires who use drugs, but because of how much responsibility a nursing staff has, regular or random drug testing should be on the minds of employers. If you are in charge of hiring new personel at a hospital, nursing home, or any health care facility, turn to an employment drug testing company who takes their position seriously. Employment Screening Services has a long list of clients who know the passion that goes into helping the right people get hired, and preventing the wrong ones from causing harm to your company.

Urinalysis Test Cheaters | How Employees & Job Candidates Can Try To “Beat the Test”

You’ve probably heard old wives’ tales about how so and so “beat” a drug test by using various different methods. You’ve also probably seen some of our materials on the benefits of hair follicle drug testing, in contrast to urinalysis. Maybe you follow professional sports and hear about potential first round draft picks dropping because of “diluted” samples. We figured we could take some time to talk about common methods that potential job candidates may use to “beat” a pre employment drug test.

Dilution

This is probably the most widely used, and widely marketed process to avoid a positive urine drug test. Companies all over the U.S. compete to sell their “Detox” drink, that all promise the same thing; undetectable drugs. Though most are known by title as “detox” drinks, they do not detoxify the body. What it actually does is hold the toxins in the body, allowing someone to pass a drug test. A drug user can possibly turn up a negative test by simply drinking the drink 2 hours before, urinating 3-4 times before the test. “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed” is present on most of these products, but oftentimes, the test will show unusual amount of dilution, which should always require an additional test.

Substitution

A simple Google search, much like the dilution “detox” drinks, can find you a multitude of “Urine Substitutes”. Back in the good ole’ days, a potential drug test cheater might just request or purchase another person’s urine, and try and sneak it in, to use as their sample. Nowadays there are all types of products and methods to try and substitute clean urine. Just check out the number of message boards on the internet to see how much thought and effort go into switching urine samples. Typically the strict way to avoid cheating is for a lab worker to literally watch the person urinate, but there are even products that recreate the process using tubing and artificial genitalia. Yes, artificial genitalia.

Adulterating

This is something that you can see a potential candidate try and to, or even a current employee that may want to turn back a random drug test. Basically what adulterating a sample is tampering with the sample by adding certain chemicals that will either mask the drugs in the system or interfere with the equipment/test. Also known as “doping” a sample, someone who wants to buy time for themselves in a random drug test scenario could add soap, salt, bleach, eye drops or something else to try and avoid a positive test.

As you can see, there is a lot of thought and effort that go toward beating drug tests. This is something that every business owner should know and understand, so they can avoid being fooled someone is drug free. Regardless of if you test them in the beginning, a drug user causing an accident or stealing from the job could cost you serious money. It’s always beneficial to administer a urine drug test for any possible candidate prior to hiring, and it’s also vital to think about random and reasonable suspicion drug testing. Hair follicle drug testing could possibly offer a better solution for new hires, with a longer window of detection. If you have any questions about employment drug testing, feel free to send us a message in our contact form, or give us a call!

Embezzled For Years | Local Dealership Looted for Over $1 Million

 

How well do you know your employees? Background checks and pre employment drug testing can certainly help weed out the majority of potential bad hires, but what about existing employees? Recently right here in Buffalo NY, an unfortunate case of broken trust is haunting a local automotive dealership.

Way back in 2001, a woman began working for the dealership. We can’t know whether or not she was given a background check back then, but she has worked for the company ever since. Even if the dealership had run a background report, and done a drug test during the hiring process, a lot can happen, and change, in 15 years. When someone works with the same company for 15 years, and they do a good job, everyone begins to trust them.

So imagine this, the 55 year old woman who’s been with the company for 15 years, serving as Controller for the last 8, has embezzled over $1,000,000!  This nightmare became a reality for the owners of Towne Automotive in Orchard Park. Apparently the woman had been stealing money since 2012. She went almost 5 years without anyone even batting an eye.

It wasn’t until a credit card company called the dealership inquiring about a credit card that wasn’t being used by the dealership that anyone even asked a question. It’s safe to assume the woman was in contact with the credit card company directly, and must have slipped up in some way. But, that didn’t stop her from taking a 7 figure sum over the course of 4 years, right under the other employees noses.

What’s worse, is that an attorney told WGRZ Channel 2 that in most embezzlement cases, the estimated total of money at the time of discovery is only a third or a half of what the actual total is at the conclusion of a case.

“Usually when you first find out about an embezzlement case, it usually then increases by magnitudes of two or three as to what the final amount is in my experience, so if this is the initial amount by the time they get through all the books and find out if she and or other people were also engaged in further embezzlement, it could be a much higher amount,”

This is cold reminder of the reality of what can happen if you don’t pre-screen all potential employees, and keep a close watch over ALL employees. This is how trust is built, over time and experience. Step one is to establish trust with all new hires through verifying they are who they say they are, and ensuring they are drug free and safe to work alongside your other team members. Step two, especially with employees handling large sums of money, is to pay attention to all the details. Letting someone’s leash out, just because they’ve been with the company for x amount of years can cost you large sums of money. In this case, millions of dollars.

For more information on pre employment background screening and various forms of drug testing for employees, contact Employment Screening Services today. We have worked with companies all over WNY, as well as around the country. With a background in law enforcement, we pride ourselves on being here to protect and serve all employers, to ensure they hire, and retain the most trustworthy candidates to help their business grow.

Small Businesses Hesitant to Report Employee Theft

A recent study on small businesses reporting employee theft to authorities may surprise you.  The research studied surveys of 314 small business owners in the Cincinnati, Ohio region and covered an eclectic mix of industries including manufacturing, service, restaurant, retail and finance/banking.  30 in-person interviews were also included.

The study’s author, Jay Kennedy, published his results as a University of Cincinnati criminal justice doctoral student.  His research shows that most small business owners decline to solicit police involvement when an employee is caught pilfering.  64 percent of small businesses have experienced theft by an employee although just 16 percent opted to report the incident to police. The study sheds light on the downfalls that could occur, should  you not include some sort of background check or pre employment screening in your company’s hiring process.

Four main reasons were offered as to why employers don’t report theft.

Victim-less Crime

Many owners won’t involve authorities because the crime isn’t seen as involving enough victims to be worth the time, trouble and/or resources required to advance through court processes.  Firing the employee is viewed as adequate enough.

Legal Counsel

Legal representation often advises against moving forward premised on required costs outweighing financial outcome.  The study points to one company that lost $200,000.  After the employee was successfully convicted, they were put on probation and required to pay just $50 a month in restitution.  Essentially, the business will never come close to receiving full restitution.

Relationships

Often, an employee that is caught stealing has worked at the business for years and become embedded with the business owner emotionally.  They sometimes are regarded as family or friend and have spent some amount of leisure time together outside work or know each other’s families.  The report claims that owners often want to put the incidence in the rear-view mirror and move forward as soon as possible.

Ineffective Justice System

Small business owners may view the criminal justice system as being incompetent or futile.  The study reports that employee theft often involves complex finances and a typical police officer isn’t viewed as having the skill set to deploy adequate intervention.  Additionally, small business owners often believe police forces are inundated with more stereotypical duties — such as patrolling the streets.

Cash was found to be the most common item stolen — making up 40 percent of small business theft.  Cash thefts involved in the study fell between just $5 up to $2 million with a median amount of $20,000 and Kennedy suggests the more money stolen has a direct relationship to the level of trust in the employee involved — both concurrently increasing.

Furthermore, Kennedy questioned a common theory that employee theft is based on lack of personal financial resources — pressing medical issues or other desperate circumstances.  Instead, he says the crimes are premised in what he calls “lifestyle enhancement,” with the convicted unable to account for how the money had been spent.

Besides cash, other items stolen were products (18 percent), production materials (12 percent), tools (8 percent) and equipment (6 percent).  Most thefts were found to have taken place over time, in lieu of a single occurrence.  61 percent of the thefts ranged from two weeks up to 20 years with the median being 16 months while most schemes were only uncovered by luck.

60 percent of employees identified as most likely to take part in employee theft were general or first-line in nature, meaning personnel at the lower rungs of the business that didn’t hold management or supervisory responsibilities.  Approximately 20 percent were managers/executives while the rest were made up in small numbers of accountants, bookkeepers, receptionists, secretaries and billing professionals.  Kennedy says only 2 percent of cashiers, who typically handle cash, were likely to take part in employee theft.

The damaging repercussions of employee theft is a process no business owner wants to go through.  ESS’s experience in the criminal background check process goes beyond the baseline.  Our reputation for  an advanced background check process can include hair drug tests, license verification or even 5 and 10 panel drug tests and offers employers the transparency to make the right choices.  We can cater to whatever unique safeguards your company requires.  Finding the best employees is a process and ESS is here to help you along the way.