Got an employee who's addicted to gambling? That'sprobably not his or her only problem. Compulsive gamblers mayexperience a range of consequences, including divorce, poorphysical and mental health, bankruptcy, and even arrest andincarceration. The costs to family members, the health-care systemand creditors can reach thousands of dollars each year, accordingto a study on gambling behavior conducted by the National OpinionResearch Center at the University of Chicago. But what about thecost to employers? Problem gambling can also lead to job loss andlost wages. So what should you do if one of your employees isgambling too much?
Often, people with compulsive behavior problems--whetherit's gambling, drug consumption or something else--have otherrelated problems in their lives that can affect their performanceat work, says Jon Miller, a labor and employment law attorney withBerger, Kahn, Shafton, Moss, Figler, Simon & Gladstone inIrvine, California. They may be repeatedly late or absent, ordistracted while on the job, which can affect the quality of theirwork. "Certainly the firmer ground for most employers issimply to deal with performance issues rather than get into [theiremployees'] personal characteristics," Miller says.
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