Assume I already know '"look for another job"
September 27, 2007 4:30 PM   Subscribe

How can I deal with my supervisor's drug abuse and dealing?

I work in a midsize office in a department of a dozen people. My SO worked here until last year. He was an oxycodone addict. That is what indirectly cost his employment here as well as a subsequent job. One of his main sources of it was my supervisor. The supervisor was unaware that I knew of this business relationship. When the second job was lost because of the addiction, I begged her to stop selling to him. The situation with my partner's addiction was causing horrible problems at home and work. She promised that this would not continue.

Approximately 5 hours after I was assured that this was not going to happen again, she sold to him. She also went off on him stating that "she can't have her employees acting like I do about this". From what I understand she was more worried about her own ass. I had not mentioned legal action of any sort during our conversation. It was a lot of emotional pleading just to stop contributing to that horrible problem.

So currently he's been clean for 3 months and has had no contact with her. She has attempted to contact him once and he did not respond. She is still doctor shopping, missing several days of work a week, and openly dealing narcotics and benzos with other employees here. Normally I wouldn't have a problem with other people's recreational drug use, but she has never apologized for selling to him/lying to me and she resents me for taking away a source of side income. I am incredibly uncomfortable working for her. When I see her give Darvocet to a coworker, I think she's doing it to rub it in my face or something. I can't trust her about anything. The company is small enough that if I went to HR, it would be easy to identify me as the complainant and I would probably get sacked.

So to the actual questions:

Without telling HR that she's a user and part of the company supply chain, how can I have her removed? Other people here are also unhappy. Is there an equivalent of a way to do a no-confidence vote so that HR has to replace her?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why on earth would YOU get sacked if she's using company space to run an illegal business of her own? Could you anonymously go to the police?

It's BAD that she is selling people addictive drugs. You should set aside your feeling that she's "doing it to rub it in your face".
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:47 PM on September 27, 2007

I imagine you could get her arrested without having to tell H.R.
posted by The World Famous at 4:57 PM on September 27, 2007

Why can't you tell HR?
posted by rhizome at 4:57 PM on September 27, 2007

Wait...your supervisor is dealing drugs on the job and you're the one worried about being sacked? Pardon the expression but she must have balls of steel to be so brazen about it. I would also think that if the red flags of her absenteeism and likely performance slippage wasn't raising any red flags to her superiors, a quick note that she was dealing drugs to fellow employees might do the trick. Seriously...can there be any question that you need to use the truth in this situation, if you're going to do anything at all? Unless you have an extremely liberal minded workplace where using such strong narcotics is actually okay, I think they'd want to know what's going on. Be prepared to walk if they brush it off. Simply state what you know is going on, and make no bones of the fact that if they are willing to let it continue and look the other way while she does her thing, you'll be seeking employment elsewhere. I don't see how you can lose in this situation at all, unless it is the one and only place where you are able to secure work in your area.
posted by brain cloud at 5:04 PM on September 27, 2007

Set her up.
posted by Rykey at 5:09 PM on September 27, 2007

Unless your supervisor also owns your company I don't really think you have to worry. I find it difficult to imagine that her higher-ups would support her decision to terminate you, especially since it would be after her return from jail. That said I would probably work through the police, rather than your company's HR department.
posted by frieze at 5:10 PM on September 27, 2007

this needs to go to HR or higher right away. that 'can't have employees' comment was a threat. this person needs to be dealt with, either by ousting her or through the police. I actually favor the police since she needs to be separated from your SO, but I wouldn't know how to go about that.

suggest your SO to hange email addresses and cell phone numbers.
posted by krautland at 5:22 PM on September 27, 2007

I agree. Sack up and head to HR. They wouldn't dare fire you for reporting thins, particularly if you have any sort of documentation or evidence. Talk about money falling into your lap if they did.
posted by Justinian at 5:27 PM on September 27, 2007

posted by edgeways at 5:29 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Go to HR. If there is even a hint of you seeing negative repercussions for that, you have grounds for a sweet, sweet lawsuit.

(I'm not one of those "GET A LAWYER! SUE 'EM!" people, either.)

What she's doing is not okay. You are not a bad person for taking action to stop her.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 5:42 PM on September 27, 2007

To me, the chance that the dealer might drag the OP's (original poster's) significant other into legal/employment issues potentially hinders OP from reporting to Human Resources or the police.

Is this part of the quandary?
posted by bonobo at 5:45 PM on September 27, 2007

bonobo, I agree that's the implication, but won't that possibility of revenge exist if Anonymous takes a non-drug-related action against the supervisor too? That is, accepting that constraint suggests that there's nothing to be done short of getting a new job, moving house, etc.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:52 PM on September 27, 2007

Get your SO to do what all these people are telling you to do.

And/or "look for another" ...significant other. (Some asshole had to say it.)
posted by Reggie Digest at 6:06 PM on September 27, 2007

Seconding Reggie Digest. If I were you, I would carry or hide carry a digital recorder and get audio of your supervisor dealing to another employee. Then, send the tape via mail or email the mp3 from an anonymous, throwaway account at your local library and send it to HR. Also, have your SO agree to a test at a random time. If he refuses, or makes excuses about not testing himself RIGHT NOW, then he is still using.

Believe me, I went through two years of hell with my ex-husband about this. Pretending to be clean and getting good at hiding things in the lining of furniture, behind picture frames -- you name it -- people will do anything to save their addictions and you may be enabling him without knowing it.

I have had success using these methods personally, although my work place was not a factor. Only other people who saw fit to turn my home into a drug den while I was at work... and make me miserable.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:20 PM on September 27, 2007

Aye, LobsterMitten,

If I were Anonymous, I would attempt to get the supervisor sacked for other performance issues. That said, I used to work under a department manager who was a cocaine abuser...sure, his work performance was what was expected of him, but his interpersonal skills at work left us underlings wondering what variety of Irrational we were to contend with each-and-every day. To his bosses, he looked great and we were the arseholes ruining it for the department. Since he was having an open affair with our ONE human resources person, there were no options work-side for dealing with him. He and the small company melted not long after I quit.

[Not to imply that the meltdown was due to my leaving...we were sold to a larger company that used us for a tax loss after running us into the ground by f'ing-up our outrageously-successful flow. Part of our being misused was due to Mr. CokeHead's inability to say "NO" to bad ideas. My Spidey-senses told me to leave and I did so.]
posted by bonobo at 6:34 PM on September 27, 2007

In some jurisdictions, surreptitiously recording someone is a crime.

So I would not follow the suggestion of Unicorn on the cob if I were you.

Unless you want to end up like Linda Tripp. Yuck.
posted by The World Famous at 6:50 PM on September 27, 2007

"she can't have her employees acting like I do about this"

The employees can't act this way? What the fuck? Does she own the company--is that why you can't go to HR?

Actually, fuck HR. Go to the police. Explain the situation and ask them what you need to do to get her fucking ass arrested. There's "recreational drug use" and then there's "heroin", as you surely know from your SO's experience.
posted by schroedinger at 7:15 PM on September 27, 2007

Most cities and states maintain very active narcotics task forces and would be thrilled to get a tip about a major doctor-shopper/dealer whom they could bust in the act. You're ideally situated, in fact, to tip them off. You could even participate in a sting where you buy drugs from her for your SO while wearing a wire and the cops bust her immediately afterwards.

Going down on a felony drug rap in the workplace generally gets HR's attention without your having to take extra steps in that direction.

So contact your local city's narcotic division; if it's too small to have one, contact your state police.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:25 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Note that in some jurisdictions, surreptitiously recording yourself having a conversation with someone is distinctly NOT a crime.

"Of the 50 states, 38, as well as the District of Columbia, allow you to record a conversation to which you are a party without informing the other parties you are doing so. Federal wiretap statutes also permit one-party-consent recording of telephone conversations in most circumstances. Twelve states forbid the recording of private conversations without the consent of all parties. Those states are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington." source

Also, if you involve the police, I'm guessing your information will constitute sufficient probable cause for them to record your supervisor's conversations.
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:37 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is a narc squad's wet dream; an easy arrest, basically zero risk, and they get to pose about "the risk being everywhere even in your own office!" to the local news media.

Cop time.

...unless there's stuff presently going on in your life that the cops might complicate (like your own stash somewhere, for example). If there is, well, then you need to think about things a bit more.

You won't get fired unless your company is utterly suicidal. If they are, well, then let yourself get fired and sue their pants off while simultaneously crucifying them in the media.
posted by aramaic at 7:39 PM on September 27, 2007

One comment: make absolutely sure your SO is clean, and that your home is clean; if this hits the fan, you don't want any getting on you.

Here's a state-by-state listing of electronic wiretapping and eavesdropping laws.
I'd get the advice of a local employment-law lawyer before doing anything. The local lawyer will probably tell you to document everything, including your discussion with your HR person, if you chose to report your supervisor. If HR then fires you, you'd have the basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit/settlement.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:54 PM on September 27, 2007

Wow. Is the employment market in your area so bad that leaving this job is not remotely possible?




That's a fucked up workplace. Most people bail out for far less cause, or to avoid far less grief. And as soon as you've got the new job, narc out the dealer to the cops. Anonymously is fine if you want to attempt to stay out of it. Someone dealing that blatantly will have no difficulty earning felony charges once the cops know to take a look at her.

(Sorry, but forget about dealing with this in the way you're hoping. You and everyone else are unwilling to so much as make an anonymous complaint to HR. Even in the unlikely event that a no-confidence vote could be arranged, how are you going to convince a majority to go out on a limb by casting a voting against her? Oh, and how do you do that kind of convincing without HR and your supervisor hearing that you're campaigning against her? N'uh. Never gonna happen...)

Do the employees she's dealing to have any connection to public safety? If you, you might (IANAL) gain more rights by becoming a whistleblower than remaining a silently complicit witness.

This woman is eventually going to get caught without or without your help, since she's too stupid to keep her activities off the radar. Once the cops realize that dealing was happening so openly and often in your office, that it happened in front of you, and that your own SO was a customer, expect to be dragged into it anyway. At least for now you can still choose to make your involvement more positive than it would be if you wait.

Good luck. You've sure been put in a rotten situation.

Oh, and drug addicts lie. It's what they do. It was a given that she'd lie to you, and unfortunately it should be taken as given that your SO is lying too unless he can prove otherwise. It would be pretty unusual for an Oxy addict to stop just because someone he loves begged him to. Opiods don't let go as easily as that. Oxy is a hard drug to get off, and you would have seen him go through an excruciating withdrawal.
"prolonged use and abuse of oxycodone medications eventually change the brain in such a way that a user cannot quit on his or her own...[risk of] withdrawal extremely high, especially when the user stops suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms may be severe and can include anxiety, nausea, insomnia, muscle pain, fevers..."

posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:16 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

New job? I see why anonymous doesn't want to use HR-- his/her colleagues are not going to be thrilled about having their source fired. It would be isolating to say the least.

I think the police are the way to go on this one. I think they'd be pretty understanding about guarding your privacy.

Anonymous? Is this SO really worth it?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:15 AM on September 28, 2007

[Anonymous asked me to post this followup response.]

I would also think that if the red flags of her absenteeism and likely performance slippage wasn't raising any red flags to her superiors,

Her superiors are in an office in another state.

suggest your SO to hange email addresses and cell phone numbers.

That has already happened.

Also, have your SO agree to a test at a random time. If he refuses, or makes excuses about not testing himself RIGHT NOW, then he is still using.

He agrees to this.

...unless there's stuff presently going on in your life that the cops might complicate (like your own stash somewhere, for example)

There is not.

Do the employees she's dealing to have any connection to public safety?


Oxy is a hard drug to get off, and you would have seen him go through an excruciating withdrawal.

To clarify, the incident in the first paragraph happened back in June. After that he tapered to ease quitting as much as possible and then we went through a few weeks of withdrawal and dope sickness. He has been clean since late June. Yes, it was excruciating. Do I think this means he is clean forever? No. The question is not about him. The question is about dealing with my boss. Want some icing? The man who fathered her first child is doing time for methamphetimine manufacture.
posted by cortex at 6:07 AM on September 28, 2007

If I were you I would not waste any time going to the proper authorities. Chances are that your supervisor will be looking for way to have you sacked so you don't ruin her 'side business'. If others in your workplace are using as well, they may very well be formulating that plan. I know this sounds a bit over the top, but it is absolutely possible. Wouldn't you be ticked off if you got fired and had that strike on your record? If you tried to speak up after the fact you would just look like a bitter employee trying to make your boss look bad and making up some lame derogatory reason for your firing. Go the the police ASAP!
posted by MayNicholas at 6:18 AM on September 28, 2007

Everytime you use the word oxycodone above you might as well have used the word heroin, since these two drugs share the same base makeup.

Your boss is selling heroin. Your boyfriend was on heroin. Your co-workers are all on heroin. How amazingly fucked up.

If you want her to stop without conflict, call the front desk or send her an anonymous email and say a friend said you buy oxycodone from her, and how can that be set up. She'll probably freak out and stop, at least for a while.
posted by xammerboy at 6:20 AM on September 28, 2007

dude. this is fucked up. fuck hr. call the cops. asap.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:51 AM on September 28, 2007

Yeah, as a veteran of some seriously drug-addled workplaces, go ahead and call the cops. Tell them what you know, and urge them to investigate.
Drug dealers who don't use are generally pretty scrupulous about avoiding attention. Drug dealers who do use are generally pretty sloppy about their finances, etc., and are easy to knock down.

You can also fish around for journalists. (I mean, if you were near me and wanted to get ahold of me, I bet I could come up with at least a couple places that I could pitch this as a news story).
posted by klangklangston at 10:56 AM on September 28, 2007

No job is worth that.
posted by callmejay at 12:03 PM on September 28, 2007

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