Robert, age 32, an employee of 3 years, got into a scuffle and punched a man over a parking spot. The man lives in the community, near the company’s offices, and they fought over who got to the parking spot first.
This was a small company of only 30 employees, without an HR function, employee assistance, or coaching services. They “cold called” me and I explained that I could provide an assessment and referral for Robert, but that I would also guide and advise the company.
The operations director, Lisa, provided some background on Robert. She said that he had always been “rough around the edges,” but he had never had an outburst before, and no one had felt uncomfortable around him. Given my background, I wondered if Robert had a substance abuse problem or mood disorder that impacted his behavior. Lisa kept insisting that he needed an anger management program, so I kept my thoughts to myself until I met with him and completed the assessment.
Lisa also said that the company did not provide mental health benefits. She asked if the company should pay for a portion of Robert’s care. We came to an agreement that they would pay for the assessment and consultation, but Robert would pay for the actual treatment, and the company would take it out of his paycheck over a 6-month period.
A few hours later, one of the owners, Alan, called to ask about the plan Lisa and I had set up. He also asked if they should keep Robert as an employee. I told him that while it was not my role to make personnel decisions, the management team should discuss this with their lawyer.
Alan and I also discussed what expectations the management team would have for Robert if they kept him as an employee.
Robert and I met for a 90-minute initial consultation, and I determined that he had a long-standing issue with alcohol abuse, and that his father and stepfather were alcoholic. His stepmother also abused alcohol. Robert had been drinking since he was 10 or 11 years old.
We agreed to start with an intensive outpatient program four times a week. If he was successful, he could continue treatment on an outpatient basis. He attended for a few months and successfully completed the program, which also helped address his anger issues.
I followed up with the company a few times over the next few months, and Robert was able to resume his job duties. The management team said they saw many positive changes in him, and they were very pleased with the process. They said they would contact me again for any similar issues in the future.