Drink Spiked and Now Suspended

Question:

My brother had been spiked with something then the next day when he went to work they suspended him for thinking he was using a prohibited substance. He’s been to the doctors to try and understand why his behaviour had changed and the doctor said he must have been spiked, cocaine and benzodiazepine was found in his urine! How can he convince work he didn’t voluntarily take these drugs? His disciplinary is on thursday, he’s never been off sick, never been late, he’s worked there 11yrs!

Signed,

Worried


Answer:

Dear Worried:

We are a workplace communication site rather than a legal or medical site, so we can’t provide accurate legal or medical information. However, it does sound as though your brother needs to seek some outside assistance, even though it might cost him the money for an attorney to represent his best interests. He may want to ask for a free consultation to see if the attorney thinks there is anything he or she could do to assist at this point.

Spiking a drink is illegal, so it would seem your brother will want to ensure this doesn’t happen to someone else or to him again. Further, it would seem odd for a stranger to spike a drink with those substances, and not stick around to benefit from the results, so he may have an idea who did it. He also should let the club where he was drinking know what happened. According to where you live, the local police or prosecutor’s office may have an interest in the bar or club already or may be willing to take a report about the event. It could be that if your brother can show he is actively investigating what happened, his company will take that into consideration. If they have a zero tolerance policy they may not accept any excuse.

Prior to his disciplinary hearing he should prepare a written memo about the situation, if he hasn’t already done so. In it he can give an overview of what his work has been like, how many positive performance reviews he’s received and anything else that can show how dependable he is.

If he rarely drinks or gets drunk he could point out his lifestyle and how unlike this is for him. If he has never mentioned partying or clubbing at work, that would add ot it, because he could perhaps remind them that this would not be anything like the behavior he has always shown and talked about.

Perhaps by talking about his work history, his personal lifestyle and the actions he’s taken to find out who spiked his drink so he can press charges against them, he can convince his managers that this is so unlike him as to be obviously out of his control.

Keep in mind that he might not be being truthful about it with you. It would seem odd that he could have his drink spiked at night to such an extent that he would still be noticeably high at work the next day, yet neither he nor anyone close to him at the club or at home had suspected anything prior to that time. He apparently was well enough to go home, go to sleep, get up, get dressed and get to work, where his odd behavior was noticed, hours later. Usually with drink spiking the effects are so unexpectedly debilitating that everyone around the person is aware of the situation, even if the victim is not, due to being in a drugged state.

However, it could be he was a victim and a double one if his job is now in jeopardy. The best approach seems to be for him to rely on what has been his lifestyle and work ethic, show he is trying to find out who did it, and ask for understanding about a situation over which he had no control.

Best wishes to him–and you–through this very distressing situation.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.