When Suspecting an Employee Has a Gambling Problem, What Can Supervisors Do? Here are a few tips:
Express concerns in a caring and supportive manner. Do not diagnose the problem or tell the individual what to do. Be clear, non-judgmental and speak only for yourself.
“I’ve been noticing changes in your work, and I am concerned about you.”
|Use work-related observations.
“I see you coming in very late from lunch every day, too distracted to work all afternoon.”
“You are a conscientious person with a history of doing good work.”
|Explain how the problem affects you.
“I had to reassign two of your projects because you missed three deadlines.”
|Be clear about your position.
“I need you to perform your job duties to the best of your ability; your performance has been slipping and without corrective actions your job is in jeopardy.”
|Respect personal boundaries.
“I don’t want to pry into your life, but I had to let you know I am concerned. I would be happy to talk to you about anything that is troubling you.”
|When a gambling problem is known, provide information, not advice.
“Here is some information about available problem gambling resources. Another resource available to you is our EAP professional. Here is their name and number.”
|Be prepared for denial or a hostile reaction.
“It must be uncomfortable to hear this. It’s difficult for me to bring it up, but I am concerned about you.”
What Can Your Organization Do?
A proactive response from your organization will help reduce the negative impact problem gambling can have within the workplace.
The following are some measures to consider:
Incorporate the topic of gambling into relevant policies. Most companies have policies on Internet use, phone use, and disallowed activities during work hours. When reviewing policy statements, make sure the policies are sufficiently comprehensive to address problem gambling issues, e.g., Internet gambling.
|Provide awareness training
Without awareness, problem gambling will not be detected. The signs of a gambling problem are seldom identified as gambling related. Training can help employees and employers to recognize the warning signs and be prepared to offer appropriate assistance.
|Post the HelpLine number
The Problem Gamblers HelpLine is a confidential link to community resources to help individuals who are dealing with a gambling problem. Post this number in employee areas and include it in other resource or referral listings provided to your employees.
|Make problem gambling counseling available
Problem gambling is a serious mental health disorder. It is important to include problem gambling counseling as a covered benefit of your employee health plan. Be sure that your health plan’s provider network includes counselors who have been specifically trained and certified to treat problem gamblers. This benefit should be made available to family members, as well.
|Monitor the money stream
Some occupations involve direct contact with money, while in other occupations, money can be “moved.” These occupations might be considered high risk for the problem gambler and a monitoring system can protect employee and employer.
To identify resources for an employee or co-worker who has a gambling problem, call:
PROBLEM GAMBLERS HELPLINE
Don’t Wait For The Problem To Get Worse!